Friday, December 18, 2009

Preparing for a Good Story

One of the truly great things about being a pastor is that no two days are alike.  It's really a dream job for someone with ADHD - which I don't think I have.  But who knows?  This week has been full of getting things done for the Christmas Boxes of Love (food from Barnes Elementary above) program and the final preparations for Christmas Sunday & Christmas Eve.  And then there's a wedding to work on and a sermon for Sunday... all quite joyous stuff (as I remind myself when I'm grumbling about having too many things to do).

It occurred to me this week that most of life is preparing for something which, when it arrives, is frequently not as wonderful as the actual preparation.  I'm not talking about let-downs or things that don't go as well as planned.  No, even the best of events are often not as meaningful as the preparation that lead up to them.  Our celebrations of Christmas are like that.  Christmas day is wonderful, but it's all the preparations that make it worthwhile --- the worship times, the decorating, cookie making, family coming together, presents, charitable projects, etc.  It all builds up like a huge life-crescendo ... and then it's over.  Christmas afternoon comes, we're stuffed again and passed out on the living room floor with a football game on (or is that just me??)

All of the running and work and preparations are exhausting, but they make the Christmas season meaningful.  There's always a story to tell.  The elements that make for a good story are the same things that create a good life (for a good book on this idea, try Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years).  The good deeds, busy times and people we connect with - these are what make this season a good story for us.  In fact, the more we sit around and try to make little cacoons of solitude or entertainment for ourselves, the more our story turns dull and unsatisfying.  I think that's why a lot of people suffer from depression - their stories become too small.

As soon as the angel told Mary about the story she would begin to live, she knew it was going to be good.  Her words in Luke 1:46-55 reveal that she had some small glimpse of what both her story and Jesus' story were all about.  What's powerful is that she seemed to realize (at a very young age), that she was a part of something so much bigger than herself.  Her glimpse of a bigger story tells us a lot about our story as well.  That's what we'll explore on Sunday.
- Curtis

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Thanks for posting!