Have you ever been startled out of a lull?
Maybe you were just about to fall asleep when you heard a noise and bolted out of bed. Maybe you were surfing the internet way too long and were jolted out of your stupor by the doorbell or a phone ringing. Maybe you were driving, going along and listening to the radio, when suddenly a horn blared and you jumped in your seat. Or, have you ever been completely spacing out in a conversation when suddenly you’re jolted out of your daydream by the familiar “what do you think about that?” Oops…
Life can be like this.
Its so easy to treat living as if we are surfing the internet or watching television. We can be completely glazed over, appearing to be engaged when, in fact, we are far from it. We get into a routine, know the right things to say and do, know what our responsibilities are, and suddenly a year has passed with little reflection at all.
The Christmas season comes every year. Rather than allowing the busyness to contribute the lull of disengagement, I think we ought to allow Christmas to jolt us out of our religious stupor.
Think about the birth of Christ in light of the bigger picture of the story told in scripture. NEVER before this point has God become a man. The arching storyline so far has been about God reaching down to His people… through prophets, through priests, through kings… through miracles, through ritual sacrifices, through His presence at the Temple…but never through a physical God-man.
The people of Israel are constantly reminded of their inability to fully be in the presence of God through ritual sacrifices for their sin. As smoke bellowed week in and week out from the Temple as more animals were slain for the Israelites' wrongdoings, there must have almost been a routine stupor that could have happened. Another sacrifice. Another prophet’s message. Another festival.
Then silence. 400 years of silence from God. Not a prophet in sight. And I can imagine the nation of Israel slipping further into that stupor, some spiritually asleep entirely, until…
“For unto us a child is born”
God in the flesh punctures time and sends a wave through the entire narrative of scripture and beyond.
Did it send a jolt through you this year?
In these last few days of the calendar year, why don’t you take some time to reflect? Allow Christmas to re-awaken you to the urgency of knowing God. To remind you of the shortness of Christ’s life, ended abruptly at the cross, then resurrected through the power of the Spirit. To remind you to not allow something like Christmas to be routine. Reflect on Christmas and let it jolt you awake once again to the beauty of this:
- God loves you so much that He came to earth as a person to live a perfect life that you could never live.
- He became prophet to His people, Priest as mediator and King over all.
- And finally, He became the sacrifice for our sins once and for all.
No more routine sacrifices. He took on all our sins so that we could have that resurrection life.
He asks us to believe. To receive His grace.