God is writing a new story for us. The title of the first chapter is Advent. I know, the title sounds familiar. Indeed, it is. Every year, on the last Sunday of November or the first Sunday of December, we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent. The beginning of a story that has been told for nearly 2000 years. How can the same words, describing the same events, written by the same prophets and gospels that we read every year become a new story? That is entirely up to each one of us.
In my younger, more vigorous, years, my wife and I made frequent trips to Mt. Katahdin in northern Maine. Mt Katahdin is the highest peak on the eastern coast of the United States. From its peak, one can catch very the first glimmer of the sunrise before sun’s rays spread across the rest of the eastern coastland. The country surrounding Mt. Katahdin is a bit rugged. The camping more rustic. The hiking more demanding. There are many ways one can soak in the forested mountain mystery of Katahdin. One can simply drive the Perimeter Road which circles around the mount and take some great photos. Or one can venture, taking a rather easy trail, to one of the camps at the base of the mountain. Or, one can climb one of the half dozen trails up to the summit. Each trail presents its own challenge, tests the climber in a different way, and rewards the person who makes it to the top with a different feeling of achievement. Same mountain, many views. Same peak, many paths.
That is the way Advent and Christmas can be for us. We are journeying to Bethlehem to witness again a miraculous birth of the one called Emmanuel. We can scurry through the stories, knowing we have heard it all before. Or we can slow down and put ourselves in the story. Or we can be a sceptic and try to rediscover why we should take the baby Jesus seriously. Or we can put ourselves in the body of Mary...or the mind of Joseph...or the sandals of the Magi and imagine what it must have been like on that for them on that wondrous morning 2000 years ago.
The story can be traced back to the prophets in 700 BC. That’s old. Or it can be as fresh and new as the translucent, smooth skin of a new born babe. It all depends on how vulnerable we children of God are willing to be in the year of our Lord, two thousand and nineteen. However you choose to enjoy the advent season this year, trust this: God is writing a new story, and you are in it.