“To embrace Jesus is to be reconciled to God and to consciously step into his Story. And to follow Jesus is to have the shape and purpose of our lives conformed to the shape and purpose of his…In other words, we want to inhabit the still-unfolding Story of God and have it change us. And this is exactly what the ancient liturgical habit of living the Christian year helps us to do.”
We prepared our hearts during Advent for the birth of Christ. We were expectant and hopeful. We engaged with the story and made our way to Bethlehem. We worshipped and celebrated Christ’s birth. But now Christmas is over. The anticipation and wonder of the day is now only to be remembered. But for some of us, we may be wondering, what do we do now that the story is over? But is it? What if that dirty manger with poor shepherds and a teenage couple and a crying baby was just the beginning of the story? What if the story that started then is the story that starts now in our hearts?
In Bobby Gross’s book, Living the Christian Year – Time to Inhabit the Story of God, the author invites us to follow the story of Christ throughout the year beginning with Advent. In the book, he speaks of two phrases that Jesus uses quite often in scripture. “Come and See!” and “Go and Tell!” For me, Advent up through Christmas is all about “Come and See.” Make the journey to the manger with expectant waiting to come and see the baby. But in this season, in the church year calendar after Christmas, I think Christ is calling us to “Go and Tell.” I think He’s boldly saying, “The story’s not over yet. It’s just beginning, and you’ve got a major role in it. Come remember my story and go and tell it to others. See how I walked the Earth and now go and tell my Story by the way you live yours.”
God is inviting us to inhabit the greater story every day, and it starts with remembering the story of hope that was born on Christmas day. As we follow Christ’s story along with our own, we are drawn to Him, we become more like Him and we point others to Him. Let’s move from Christmas into the church year filled with a new born sense of wonder, hope and anticipation.