There is something exciting about arrivals. I remember as a kid watching out the window waiting for grandparents from a distant state to arrive for a rare visit. I remember (often) arriving at new fishing destinations, watching the water, and imagining the epic days I would spend on those streams. I remember (and still get excited) for Christmas day–when the waiting is over and the family bursts into the living room to see presents that have mysteriously arrived just waiting for us to open.
Expectant waiting and amazing arrivals. Two realities that envelop this time of year which is filled with its own complexities. For some, the Christmas season is full of possibility and opportunity. They are floating like a mature dun high and dry on the surface of life. For others, this season brings grief and pain from loss of friends, spouses, vocations, or personal health. For others still, the waiting for something to change has strained hope and any new “arrival” would be better than life’s current realities. Christmas is complex indeed and often we feel the tension of several conflicting realities within us.
The hope and good news of Christmas is that the waiting is over–God has entered into the story of life in dramatic fashion, never leaving the world (or any person) void of hope and peace. The arrival of the Christ child caused knees to bow and wonder to expand.
Yet in the observations of life today we find ourselves living in the midst of more longing, of needing another arrival of sorts. We know there is something more to life than what we see within ourselves or the news media around us. The world is not as it should be and to some degree, we are pulled toward something more, hoping for something more, desiring another “arrival” to heal all that is broken in the world and in our own souls.
Thankfully, the Bible reminds us that there is indeed another arrival coming which will accomplish the very things for which we long. Christ will return and all will be healed, all will flourish, life will be as it was always intended. Until then we wait, not passively, but with eager anticipation like a well executed cast, mend and drift through the prime lie of a waiting trout.
Friends, wherever and however you find yourself waiting, longing, and anticipating arrivals in your life, I hope and pray you will pause and reflect on the birth of Jesus this Christmas season.
Eberhard Arnold (1883-1935) said that we will miss the essence of Christmas unless we are mindful of how the birth of Christ took place. So I leave you with the narrative of Jesus’ birth, of God breaking into our world, an arrival that still bends our knee today with eager anticipation that he will arrive again.
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
Merry Christmas to you and yours from the Altar Fly Fishing Team.
- How are you coming to Christmas this year? What words, feelings, stories are defining this season for you?
- What are you waiting for or what are you hoping “arrives” in your life?
- For what are you treasuring and pondering in your heart?
- How has the reality of Jesus coming into our world (the good news shared above) impacted your life? Are you needing to return to God or for the first time, allow Jesus to come into (arrive) your heart?
- Spend time in quiet reflection and when ready simply offer whatever prayer you need to share, however it needs to be shared.