A New Take on Christmas

It is time for Advent, and I usually spend my Sunday mornings in a church that goes through the Advent…liturgy(?)…but that’s not the case for me this year. The church we’ve been attending hasn’t mentioned Advent…that’s not their style. Of course, we really haven’t been attending that church…or any…for quite some time. Back on the church search train. Something for which I don’t really have the energy right now…even though I have the desire to find a community that’s is a good fit for all of us.

In the mean time, however, I’ve been spending my Sunday mornings resting, reading, doing yoga, baking…other practices that in some way honor the Sabbath–but don’t feel like they do down here in the Bible belt. And…I really do want to be part of a church community.

All that to say…I started reading a new book recently, and I’m finding that now is the perfect time to read it: Jesus Wants to Save Christians by Rob Bell.

It’s actually a perfect book to read as part of Advent. Rob goes into the history of the Jewish nation–starting from Genesis and moving to Exodus, then Solomon, then the Exile (don’t worry, it is by no means exhaustive). As he traces the Jewish story and the many parallel processes of Israel trying to become a priestly nation (one full of people whose primary aim was to worship and serve–which should go hand in hand)…and failing. Each time, God tries to renew the covenant. Each time, Israel does something else to move further East (East of Eden…Nod…away from God…exile…read the book). Enter the need for a different kind of God in a different form to establish a different covenant–that still gets the job done.

Reading the story of the Jews and the many parallels between their history and the story of Jesus has been fascinating–and meaningful. Particularly as we wait and prepare for the Christmas season. That’s what Advent is about–waiting and preparing. That’s was the Jews were doing in exile. And, let’s face it–we are all a people in exile in some way. Suffice it to say, I’m thankful I picked this time to pick up this book. It’s a good read for Christmas–even if it wasn’t meant to be.

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