Many of us have heard the Christmas story many times. We could recite the story from Luke 2 either having heard it time and time again, or from watching reruns of Linus delivering the Christmas story to a frustrated Charlie Brown. We have heard it so often that, for many of us, it stops having the same impact. The coming of the Messiah was an anticipated event for First Century Jews living Jerusalem. They waited for a king to come and deliver them from the oppression of Rome. They longed for the restoration of Israel. Yet, the event that happened in Bethlehem was anything but what the people expected.
What might it be like for us to recapture some of that unexpected coming, as the Divine and the Human meet in the person of Jesus? How could we try to see with fresh eyes a story which has been repeated for centuries? What if we looked for this Christmas story in unexpected places, even in Scripture?
Over the Advent Season we’ll look in some unexpected places in Scripture to catch a bigger vision of what is happening in the Christ event. We’ll look at several places where John tells us his thoughts on the coming of Jesus. The Gospel according to John doesn’t have the standard manger scene with shepherds, wise men and the whole bit (John 1:1-18). Rather, John wants to tell a story that goes back far beyond Bethlehem to the very beginning. In Revelation John talks about the birth of Jesus, but rather than humble human origins, John focuses on cosmic ramifications of the Word-Made-Flesh (Revelation 12:1-6). In Galatians Paul talks about our adoption as sons and daughters of God because of the Christmas story (Galatians 4:1-7).
As we gather, then, on Christmas Eve we’ll consider how this Unexpected Christmas reveals the unexpected love of God to humanity and moves us to live unexpected lives of hope, peace, joy and love. I hope you can join us at Spring Creek during the season of Advent, and I pray that we may each see Jesus, God in the flesh, in fresh ways.