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The Advent Story (part 3): Arrival

By December 24, 2014Reflections

This advent season, as part of our community engaging in prayers of imagination and the holy longing of the church for Jesus to appear, fellow Practice tribe member John Perrine will help us revisit a familiar passage each week that prepares us for Christ’s birth. Here is the final reflection…

Isn’t arrival such a joyous thing? Christmas day arrives and you see joy light up on every child’s face as they rush from their rooms to encounter the Christmas tree space bursting with brightly wrapped presents. The wedding day arrives and for all of the work, stress, toil that it took to prepare, the smiles worn by the bride and groom as they beam at one another offers hope of all the joy that might await their new lives together. The birth of a child arrives and nine full months of waiting, preparing, anticipating bursts forth in the cries of new life and bewildered looks of exhausted contentment that won’t disappear from the new parent’s faces.

Each of the illustrations just mentioned offer a profound glimpse into the mystery that happened on Christmas day. At Christmas, the joy of our children reminds us that this arrival that we’ve prepared for is inherently a gift, graciously given to be joyously received. The wedding reminds us of the truer reality that with the arrival of our savior we are have been joined in marital covenant with the one who already invites us into new life with him in the present, only to be fully consummated at the great wedding feast which we prepare for. And finally, with birth, we are reminded each Christmas of the new possibility that Christmas holds. Just as God himself stepped into the world as a child to experience the fullness of humanity that we share, we too are invited into what Jesus would later describe as a new birth. Jesus was born on Christmas day so that we might be reborn, entering into an entirely new existence through the one who has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness into the glorious inheritance of the sons and daughters of God. We have been preparing these last few weeks because someone has come, the very son of God himself, entered into this world as a new born child, so that he might show us a new way, the true and only way to God. So we celebrate with trumpet blasts and angelic hymns because on this day of arrival, God has finally come to be with us, his people, and we now can live out new life in and with him. Isn’t arrival such a joyous thing?

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