Because unless we get on the road, we never begin.
Fred Buechner said, in his classic Magnificent Defeat: “For outlandish creatures like us, on our way to a heart, a brain, and courage, Bethlehem is not the end of our journey but only the beginning – not home but the place through which we must pass if ever we are to reach home at last.”
Bethlehem is the start of the journey! It’s so interesting -and significant- that the journey motif is strong in the gospel birth narratives: the pre-birth journeying of Mary to Elizabeth, the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, the journey of the wise men, the escape into Egypt… It’s like a parable of discovery, of voyaging in the dark.
Annie Lamott once said: “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don’t give up.” And that’s exactly right. Hope begins in the dark, like the frail seedling sprouting in the womb of the young Mary. Maybe “Pregnancy” is just another word for Advent?
We can’t count off trimesters with God, however. We can’t plan or pin down exactly what he’s doing and when he’s going to do it. “God’s movement is often abrupt and unsettling rather than predictable and settling” -Michael Joseph Brown.
t is now, at Advent, that I am given the chance to suspend all expectation…and instead to revel in the mystery.” Jerusalem Jackson Greer, “The thing I love most about Advent is the heartbreak. The utter and complete heartbreak.”
“Advent” is quirky and strange. Worrisome even, yet awe-inspiring. Something has birthed. Something is on its way. “Aslan is on the move.”
There’s a sermon of good old John Piper, who hits the note exactly: “The only people whose soul can truly magnify the Lord are…people who acknowledge their lowly estate and are overwhelmed by the condescension of the magnificent God.”
Are you ready?
- O Little Town of Bethlehem (heavenlyprincess.wordpress.com)
- the wonder, begins with Magi (drafts2.com)
- The Journey Advent Series (revgauss.wordpress.com)
- New Advent Study – The Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem (centralumchurch.wordpress.com)
- Advent = Waiting (kayepmckee.wordpress.com)
- December 3 (stmarkssa.wordpress.com)
- Monday of the First Week of Advent (cotikc.wordpress.com)
- Advent: A Time To Treasure and Adore (moreprecious.co.uk)
- an Advent(ure) of faith (thedaysman.com)
- The Journey Begins (walkbuildproclaim.wordpress.com)