The Facts Aren't Good Enough
As we approach the season of Advent (which begins this Sunday), I've been reflecting on how to prepare for this blessed season of expectation.
Today, I have been thinking about how easy it is to forget why we are celebrating in the first place. Before you start thinking that this is going to be one of those predictable "Keep Christ in Christmas" messages, let me explain.
I happen to believe that it's not just the cold, cruel world around us that has consumerized Christmas and lost the plot. There's plenty of us Christian-types who have veered off the road a bit, too.
We lose sight of the fact that we're getting offended because someone at a big box store where we happen to be shopping is saying "Happy Holidays" to us as we enter to drop hundreds of dollars on gifts for people we probably don't really like all that much.
The late Elie Wiesel often told a parable to his classes at Boston University. I'll paraphrase it here:
There once was a man so forgetful that he didn't know what to do with the strange objects in his room. He would wake up and couldn't determine what clothing was for, how to get dressed, how to sit in a chair, etc.. So he labeled everything and created detailed instructions on how to use all of the items. Finally, he was able to get ready in the morning. But as he passed the mirror, he paused, looked at his reflection and whispered: "Who am I?"Wiesel's point was that facts are important, but they are ultimately meaningless if they don't create a personal connection if they aren't internalized and move us toward transformation.
So in the coming days and weeks--make the story that you are celebrating your own. Live into it by being full of unbridled and defiant hope as you journey through this season of expectancy. Create moments of great memory and joy.
Let yourself be transformed by the spirit of the season.
It's important to know the facts, for sure. But it's more important to live into the hope of what is the greatest story ever told--how God so loved the world that God became one of us to rescue all of us.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.