By Patricia Falope ...
Viewing the advent story as through a “zoom lens” as Pastor Alan described it, helped set it for me like one of those gripping movies where things are happening in real time. Like on the TV series 24, when they would slap on various shots of different events happening at the same time. With 24, the technique was designed to bring on a heart attack but Pastor Alan’s presentation brought home (to me) the realization that these were real people, real lives. I know … I know we all know they were real but…. They were real! With this perspective, the various responses to the advent of Jesus become so much weightier because real people have choices.
The shepherds: see and hear and choose to respond in obedience. They go, they tell and they praise.
The bystanders: hear and are amazed. We are not privy to their actions beyond this. What might their ongoing responses be? Praise, busyness, disregard, worship, ennui, yielding….
Mary: hears and quietly contemplates. Luke 2:19 “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart”. I wonder if her meditating on these things strengthened her heart through all that she would bear.
For us, how do we choose to respond to the truth of God that we see and hear in our own lives? The God who sent the angel to Mary and made a baby by His word, the God who sent the angel to the shepherds, he is the same one who is now our God. If we choose to believe the ridiculous story of the virgin birth, it is not too much of a stretch to believe that the God who loved us enough to create that whole scenario yearns for an ongoing relationship with us.
Pastor Alan reminds us that our salvation is for eternity. We have a white stone with our name on it. God has written your name and my name down. This is the reason for the birth of Jesus. That we might belong to him, have a relationship with him in this world and for all eternity. All we need to do is choose to say yes and his Holy Spirit will help us the rest of the way.
Thank you Jesus for the opportunity to belong to you. Help us yield our hearts and say yes today.