4th Sunday in Advent
December 23, 2007
As we celebrate the coming of Christmas, we recall the old, old story. It is a story that climaxes in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. In many ways it is a story about encountering God. The old, old story starts with the words:
In the beginning … and talks of encountering God in creation.
And then we read of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden … words that talk of encountering God as the source of goodness and as the reason that we are able to differentiate good and bad.
Next come Noah and the flood … and we read about encountering God in new beginnings.
And then there is the call of Abraham … and we read about encountering God in a sense of purpose.
The story tells us of the time when the people were enslaved in Egypt … and we learn about encountering God when all looks dark.
And then Moses sees a burning bush … and we discover that God can be encountered in the miraculous.
Moses leads the people during years of desert wandering … and we find that God can be encountered in times of seeking.
And then Moses receives the law at Mount Sinai … and we find people encountering God through the written word.
After many years of wandering, Joshua leads the people into the Promised Land …. and we read of people encountering God in dreams come true.
When distant powers come and the people are carried away in exile … we read about encountering God when all looks dark.
In response to the struggles of the Exile, prophets speak … and we find people encountering God in the words of others.
In the end, when words simply weren’t enough, there is one more encounter with God that forms the climax of this old, old story. It is a face-to-face encounter with God. And that is what we celebrate at Christmas – God among us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. One final chance to encounter God. Merry Christmas!