Sunday, December 10, 2017

3rd Sunday in Advent - A Christmas Story - Advent 2017

" in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12

Each year, the re-telling of the Christmas story fills the devotions we read, the sermons we hear, the carols we sing. The bright lights and decorated trees bring not only joy, but memories surface of days long passed. In my reading this season of Hidden Christmas by Timothy Keller, he does a great job of reminding us that the Gospel story is no legend or fairy tale. While these stories are not factual, Keller says they satisfy a desire "to experience the supernatural, to escape death, to know love that we can never lose, to not age but live long enough to realize our creative dreams, to communicate with nonhuman beings, to triumph over evil." These fictional stories reveal our longing for the human desires, but only Christ can complete us and fill the void inside us. 

Keller describes the Christmas story like this: "Here is a story about someone from a different world who breaks into ours and has miraculous powers, and can calm the storm and heal people and raise people from the dead. Then his enemies turn on him, and he is put to death, and it seems like all hope is over, but finally he rises from the dead and saves everyone." While to some it fits the genre of fairy tales or super heroes, the Christmas story brings even more. Jesus entered the world and "punched a hole between the ideal and the real, the eternal and the temporal." And yes, "there is an evil sorcerer in this world, and we are under enchantment." Jesus is "the noble prince" who brings "a love from which we will never be parted."

FrederickBuechner, American writer and theologian writes, “…Bethlehem is not the end of our journey but only the beginning…” This year, when I listen to the Christmas story once again, let me pause the world. In this stillness, I want to let God's glory fill me. Lost in the wonder of indescribable love and surrounded by the divine presence of God, I long to find Jesus who comes for me, who offers himself as Perfect Love.I yearn to celebrate the greatest Christmas Gift, Jesus, who renews my journey. Let me find new beginnings and new ways of living for Christ in the coming year! -dho

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