When our sons were little, we used to pick one night in December each year to go look at Christmas lights. We packed up blankets and pillows and maybe a thermos of hot chocolate. We made sure that we had plenty of Christmas CDs to play on the car stereo. Then we would take off on our holiday pilgrimage.
Our pilgrimage always began with the Drive-Through Live Nativity, hosted by Kingsland Baptist Church, near our house in Katy, Texas. Kingsland Baptist went all out for their annual drive-through nativity. There was always a traffic jam to get in, as cars and SUVs waited their turn to drive through dramatic renderings of Bethlehem and then of Jerusalem, where a suburban dad, dressed as Jesus, was crucified and resurrected. We watched the scenes of our Lord’s birth and death and resurrection with our windows rolled up, listening to our Lord’s life on simulcast radio, with the heater on, keeping the chill of the night outside of our car.
I wonder how many of us today treat the Lord Jesus Christ’s birth and death and resurrection as if it is just a drive-through experience? As if Jesus’ life was something to just look at for 10 minutes before driving on to the next thing? As if the Incarnation, the event of God living in a human body, is just for actors to play on a dramatic stage?
My goal this Advent and Christmas is to get out of the warm car and get into the Story, to roll down the window, open the door and become a part of the Story of a very unique God who chooses to open up his windows and doors and enter into my story. And I plan to enter the Story through scripture, worship and prayer.
My goal this Advent is to listen, really listen, to the words of scripture. I plan to hear the words, not just as words of a historical event, but as words that describe a God who really does act and move in my life.
My goal this Advent is to worship, to give worth to God who gives me everything. There are plenty of opportunities for worship this December; I plan to not just watch worship from afar, with my window rolled up, but to really get into the singing and the prayers and the communion that I receive.
My goal this Advent is to pray, but not as a habit or a duty. I plan to pray because it is a natural response to a God who comes so close to us that we can feel his tiny fingers clutching ours in his cradle.
This Christmas, don’t just stay in the car, wrapped in blankets, gazing out the window, just driving through. Through scripture, worship and prayer, join the Story of a God who loves us so much that he chooses to live with us.
Morning Prayer 3.19.18, St. Joseph
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