This past week, one of our young adults shared a “light bulb” moment. As this person had been reading through the book of Acts, they suddenly came to the realization that this was the story of the early church – that instead of just a bunch of rules that talked about “do this” or “don’t do this”, Acts was describing how God was working in the midst of history.
This was a critical realization, one of those “aha” moments similar to what happened in my mind when I started reading the Old Testament and putting together what happened when – a timeline or chronology of the story, the history of Israel.
Things started to click together, to snap into place. The story of God’s purposes in creation and for humanity, the alienation and violence that resulted from our sin, God’s patient steps in starting to undo the effects of the Fall through the most unlikely people and the most tenuous of situations. All of it leading up to the Gospels, the heart of the Bible – God literally entering into our story (no pun intended). The story of Acts and the letters of Paul and James and John then became not more important than the Gospels, but the reflection back on the central Gospel message of Jesus – how it gets lived out in real life, the story of the first century Christians.
And most critically, when we begin to see the Bible through the lens of it being God’s unfolding story, we realize that just because the books of the Bible are complete, the story goes on – and we are all part of it. This, in fact, will be our theme for the season of Advent.
As the celebration of Christmas draws nearer, let us consider what it means to live as part of that story God is telling, a story that God invites us to help write the unfolding chapters even as God weaves the strands of our stories back together into a finale that God calls, interestingly enough, a new creation.
The Christmas story is one that most of us know by heart, so as we prepare, I’d invite us to be thinking about our own stories: the story of our lives, how we came to faith, why we’re still following Jesus, and the ups and downs along the way. Perhaps we will see new ways God is weaving the stories of our lives into His bigger purpose and plan.
Blessings on the Journey,