It snuck up on me, in between all the Thanksgiving plans and while I concern myself with living in the moment. The season of strung lights and sleigh bell music and egg nog descended on this city before I could clear away the thanksgiving plates. Last night at small group, someone shared a prayer request against distractions in this season - that she would be able to focus with her family on celebrating the simple message of Christ coming to earth. New York City does a really great job of distracting even without the help of a consumer-driven season of overspending and dress up parties. So, I'm trying to take it slow. I'm trying to let the Advent readings marinate and linger so I'm anticipating the right things - the best things - and not the hollow things of empty boxes and returned sweaters. And this morning that anticipation led me to Calvary.
"There’s a place for focusing on the stable, the shepherds, and the wonder of the incarnation, but to appreciate the depth of what is happening here, we must keep Calvary’s hill on the horizon." - David Mathis in "Let a Little Lent into your Advent"
Because this season is not waiting for a baby. We are not anticipating the coming of a birth, not merely anyway. Jesus came to earth in a miracle of miracles, but then he lived life full through and ended up at the cross. That God knew all of this before sending His son, and even ordained it, is part of what makes this season magical.
God inserted Himself into his very ugly and and desperate creation so that He might be our redemption.
Christ's birth is beautiful because it is the earthly beginning of the story of salvation on the shoulders of the God-man. Everything about the birth is as unbelievable today as it was when the angels declared it to Mary and Joseph and the shepherds in the fields. Still crazy, still beautiful, still miraculous. But, what makes Christ's birth ever deep is that his life culminated in Calvary - that He died a shameful death on a cross and then rose again to conquer death altogether and purchase pardon for sinners.
The salvation story is not seasonal.
As we anticipate the coming of the Savior King this Christmas, may it be inside the wonder of a greater miracle. How wide can our eyes be to fully take it in? How deep can our joy reach to fully revel in it? How far can our laughter roll to feel the weight of it?
Come, Lord Jesus. Come and live the life of a Messiah. Come and purchase our pardon and come to set us free. Come and do for creation what only You can do. Come and be magnified by the miracle of salvation. Come.
Come to this earth with Calvary on the horizon.