Our church is spending this month reflecting on the true Christmas story, the arrival of our Savior, by viewing it through the different perspectives of those who experienced it firsthand. When we think of that momentous night and the events that followed, usually we get a picture that slightly resembles a Hallmark card. We’ve beautified and simplified an event that, in all reality, is hard to wrap our minds around… The infinite, holy creator of the universe stepped into our world… to bind, fix, heal, and reconcile… but He didn’t come with power and pomp, He came as a vulnerable infant during a lonely night in a dirty stable. It probably wasn’t the prettiest of sights as Mary gave life to the Giver of Life. But it happened…
I think we lose sight of the fact that these Bible stories we’ve heard all our lives are real… they happened… and the people in them were real people, with families and jobs and pasts and dreams and insecurities and doubts. So I like this exercise of thinking about events through the lens of how the people there must have felt and what implications these divine moments of God intersecting with their everyday life had on them.
Our pastor started out Sunday by asking- “How many ways to God?”
To which the church answered- “One way… Jesus.” [Hillsong would have been proud!]
But then he asked- “And how many ways to Jesus?”
The answer… as many ways as there are people. Because Jesus is a pursuer of souls, creative and unlimited in the way He accomplishes this. For some like the shepherds, they weren’t even looking for God… they were just living life, doing their thing… and then God shows up in a big miraculous display that they couldn’t deny. Immediately they went to see this Messiah they’d been told about and they were never the same. The Magi on the other hand had spent their whole lives searching for truth and divinity but it always escaped them. On a hunch, following a star, they embarked on a long journey across hundreds and hundreds of miles. The journey came to fruition when they finally entered the presence of Jesus. They too were never the same.
The advent candle this week was Hope. And this is the hope we have- that we have a God who loves us enough to not leave us where we’re at. He goes to any length to bring light into our lives if we would just receive it.
And while God is pursuing us, we are invited to be pursuing Him. It’s ironic that the invitation this season brings was spoken by the one man who missed it completely… King Herod encouraged others to go and carefully search for Christ, to seek Him intently, and then to go tell others about Him without ever accepting the invitation himself. [Matt. 2:8]
May we not miss it too… may we keep that invitation on the forefront of our minds as we make our way through this advent season. May we seek Jesus with everything in us, and may we be blessed when he meets us on our journey in unexpected ways.