For hundreds of years, it was quiet. A silence that I’m sure was deafening for those that longed to hear God’s voice, and to others, the silence may have seemed like permission to think and do whatever they wanted to think and do. Either way, the tension of this silence was getting tighter and the longing and aching of the human heart was becoming louder. Soon, but not soon enough, the Word, God, would become skin, muscle, and bone and live amongst us, showing us the glory of the Father and his deep love for the human heart. God, the symphony, full of complexity, movement, beauty and power, and infinite in His being, would become a song that we could all hear and see and sing, a folk song, intimate, close, and our hearts would burn inside us. But those before us would have to stand in an unbearable tension.
As the human heart cried out for light to break into the dark the fullness of time had come, and God sent His son, born from a woman to buy back the human heart from its varying slaveries, so that we could be named by God alone as sons and daughters adopted and chosen in Christ. God stepped out of heaven and became a vulnerable breakable baby to push back the darkness of the world and call us out of the darkness into an unfathomable light.
This gospel must be recalled over and over. We have short memories and are easily distracted by shine and glitter. So we must spend weekly, monthly and yearly rhythms reminding ourselves and each of the of the gospel of Jesus, the power to save. We do this in moments by spending individual time with God, becoming vulnerable to the voice and presence of God in the scriptures. We do this weekly when we gather with the people of God and proclaim again the benefits of feasting on God and forsaking the worlds malnutrition. We also do this “gospel recalling” through the Church Calendar. The most simple way to explain this calendar is to see it as a yearly cycle. Advent is the season we recall longing for a Savior. Christmas is the celebration of the arrival of that Savior. Lent is the journey to the cross and death of that Savior. Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. Pentecost is the moment the Holy Spirit comes and Jesus builds His church in daily massive conversion. The church calendar is one more way to help our scattered minds remember, recall, and renew our love for Gods massive rescue plan.
So here we stand in this Advent season, longing for a Savior we know will come. It’s not too difficult for many of us to already sense that longing even though the work of Jesus is complete. We stand in a new tension between the rebel feast and the wedding feast. Jesus’ work is done, but the Kingdom of God has not yet fully come. This season I want to invite anyone and everyone to journey with us through four weeks of Advent. Step inside the quiet, the longing, the expectation and finally the great fulfillment. It’s a little like holding your breath for a long time, waiting to exhale. If you are a human who is quite as broken as I, it becomes such a fresh and marvelous way to approach Christmas. The wide-eyed, jaw dropping, heart pumping miracle of God coming to us in our tattered state and giving our souls worth makes Christmas a new and unique celebration like no other!
I pray each of us find the depth of meaning in each beautiful or painful moment in this Christmas season. Be present in the journey friends!
Frontline Worship and Liturgy Pastor