Advent Devotion, December 19

Savoring the Story
The Rev’d Stephen Linkous 

Read Mark 1:1-8

I don’t know about you, but Advent seems to be one of the most busy times of my year.  So many of us are pulled in a thousand directions trying to do all the ‘normal’ stuff while putting out Christmas decorations, making food (lots and lots of food), buying presents, visiting family, and the list goes on.  We’re just too busy to slow down.  But it’s kind of odd, huh?  Our lives move at such a pace that we can scarcely remember what is really important.  We get so caught up in preparing for the festivities of the Christmas season that we have a tendency to lose sight of who it is that we are celebrating!  In the chaos of all this busyness the wonderful reality that we are celebrating – the incarnation of our Lord, the Savior of the world – easily takes a backseat to all of the stuff we get busy doing.  If our lives read like a book, it would have way too much filler material and not enough real plot.  That doesn’t sound like any book that I would want to read.

However, the story of Jesus is refreshingly different.  It moves with the feel of an epic drama.  His story is so incredibly wonderful it is near impossible to keep it fully in view.  Here in Mark 1, we learn that the beginning of the epic drama that is the life of Jesus doesn’t begin with his birth.  John the Baptist, the last of the Old Testament prophets, tells us that the story of Jesus goes back even as far as Isaiah’s time, and representatively in Isaiah to the whole of the Old Testament.  What John the Baptist tells us about that story here in the first chapter of Mark, as the whole of the Old Testament proclaims, is that the Messiah, the promised deliverer, will give us the breath of life itself.  Jesus’ legacy throughout all ages will be the gift of life, which is nothing less than the gift of the Holy Spirit.  This gift is far greater than any other we could ever hope to give or receive this Christmas.  The message of the Incarnation is a story too glorious to be too busy to miss.

Perhaps we have heard, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” too much, so much in fact that we simply nod our heads in affirmation while continuing on in our busy lives.  May God grant us the grace to slow down long enough to savor the Savior’s story this Advent season, so that in all our preparations for the coming celebration the true Joy of Christmas is not missed.   May we truly prepare the way of the Lord this Advent, in our homes, in our communities, and in our hearts.