For years our family has utilized an Advent Calendar as we ready ourselves for the celebration of the Jesus’ birth. I believe we bought this particular calendar when our children were very young as a way to let them tangibly get involved. At our home each day of the week a different person (both parents and children), were assigned a day to say grace before dinner and on their day they were able to take the piece of the Christmas story and place it on the developing scene at the top. Each day the story would become closer to the fullness of the whole story of Jesus’ birth. I remember camels in the sky, kids figuring out their favorite characters and changing them around so they would get the pieces they wanted and some active debates over who got to put the baby Jesus on this Christmas. Even after the children grew into their teens and college years, the Advent Calendar remained as part of the tradition at our home.
This year, with our children all in their own homes and places, the calendar hangs on the wall as it has for years. No longer having the kids to keep us on track, we sometimes find ourselves a day or two behind in the busyness of life. I was reflecting on our lateness the other day. This is exactly what was going on that first Christmas day. Though the prophets had spoken of a day of redemption, though some heard and prayed for this coming Messiah, though some waited well, many, if not most simply were living life. Most were busy with the daily chores, the business at hand, managing the family, the work and the governmental stuff of their day. For most, they were just a little behind what God was up to in his world.
The Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ includes the news that God acted decisively in sending Jesus. Though he called his people to wait with faith, God did not wait until our faith was perfect to act. God has always loved his people enough to initiate his loving plans and to reach out to us while we were still a little behind in our thinking, in our faith and in our faithful actions toward him and others. Perhaps this Advent/Christmas season you are feeling a little behind: behind in work, behind in school, behind in shopping and decorating, and a little behind in tuning into God’s story and his plans and purposes in your life. Good News – God is still working his plan. Jesus still comes and brings light into the darkness. He proves that God loves and cares for all that he has created and comes to redeem all things. Perhaps taking a pause to read through the Christmas story again will catch us up when we feel a little behind (Matthew, chapters 1-2; Luke, chapters 1-2, and John 1:1-18).