Mike Nelson is a member of our Launch Team. He is married to Beth, and as of yesterday the father to not one, but two precious kiddos, Katie and Patrick. Mike brings such a unique perspective to our team and we are so grateful that we are friends.
As I have gone through the daily office readings, I must admit that my experience has been similar to others. Some of the readings have hit me right between the eyes while others have made about as much sense as quantum physics.
For the readings that have not made sense, I can’t help but think that this is how it must have felt to be an Israelite who was waiting on the coming Messiah: confused, frustrated, maybe even doubtful. This is where we must remember that we, like those Israelites, are merely in the middle of a Larger Story.
When you think about it, many great stories do not make sense if you jump right into the middle. If you open up the middle of any great novel and begin reading, you will likely find the protagonist in conflict with his or her circumstances and with little hope on the horizon. Additionally, you the reader will likely be frustrated and confused by the story if you don’t happen to already know the ending.
Today’s daily office readings invite us into the middle of a much larger narrative and encourage us that help is on the way. The readings from Psalms depict writers who are in the middle of the story and petition a seemingly silent God to intervene. Zechariah offers a message that help is on the way…someday. Revelation tells of Christ’s response to those who persevered through the middle of the story. Finally in Matthew, Jesus gives us a glimpse of how the story ends.
When we approach these readings through the lens of the Larger Story, and allow them to soak into our hearts, we begin to see the Christmas Story in a different light. Christ’s birth is a turning point in the story. The beginning of the end. The arrival of the desperately-needed hero.
This Advent may we, like the church in Philadelphia, persevere in the here and now. As we celebrate Christ’s first arrival and wait for his second coming, may we join God in His Larger Story: the restoration of His creation.