It's getting close to that time of year again. I saw evidence of it in Hobby Lobby the other day and glimpses of it in Walmart too. The sparkles are going up, the red and green and gold and silver are beginning to line the shelves. I remember when I used to be so put out that "Christmas" was up for sale earlier and earlier each year, but now I feel better seeing Christmas in October. I think we need the reminder of the story earlier in the times we are living in now.
See, the story goes that Christmas was celebrated because the birth of a baby, far away in a war torn country was born to save the world from its sins. It's such a wild story, isn't it? Over 2000 years ago, a baby, a baby for crying out loud, was born to affect me and everyone I know, here, now in 2014 and for all time before and after.
It's a wild story. I understand why many don't believe it. It's crazy.
But we got used to the story, we got used to those who poo poo the story. Santa Claus got thrown into the story to at least take away from the main focus of the story, Jesus, so that those who don't believe THE STORY can at least benefit in some way from the reason behind the story.
And so it goes, around and around on the church calendar so that the retail calendars can have a piece of the story too. The story starts getting unpacked around September and October and hangs around until December 26th at midnight where it all gets packed up again, or at least till the after Christmas sales are over.
I wish the rest of the story would be told. Oh wait, that's Easter.
We know that story pretty good too, believer and doubter alike. Jesus got crucified, placed in a tomb and rose from the dead three days later.
It doesn't get the commercial effect that the Christmas story gets but we do have a bunny thrown in to get the focus off the star of the story - Jesus.
Did you know there's more to the story?
See, if you live your life between part A of the story -the baby - and part B of the story -the resurrection - with those the only highlights of your everyday life then you've probably missed it.
But there's more to the story.
It's the chapter that goes beyond a baby and a cross and heaven, but instead tells the story of faith and courage and bravery and hope and surrender being possible all because of Part A baby and Part B resurrection.
See the rest of the story involves you. You are, as Paul Harvey used to say, "the rest of the story."
The baby did come to die for you and grant you eternal life, but the baby also came to regenerate your life, to bring new life to it. Life that has purpose and meaning.
He couldn't just tell you to be perfect like He was if He didn't first make a way for you to be perfect in His sight. When that little baby grew up and lay his life down for me and you, yes it was for the awesome gift of eternal life, but it was also for the awesome gift of walking with Him now, not just when you die.
He made a way for you to be able to follow the teachings He taught while He walked on earth. He made a way for you to rise above the inclination to do the opposite of what God wants and instead walk freely in what is His best for us.
God does it all so that we can be all we were created to be.
That's the rest of the story. That's the part that's missing from Christmas to Easter and Easter to Christmas.
You are the "more" to the story.
You are. Your life is the "more" to the story. The life that has Jesus at the helm, not as a copilot but as the pilot. Walking with you through everything that life throws at you, the good, the bad and the ugly. The tedious, the small, the big, the heartbreaking. You were not meant to face any of it alone. We were meant to face life as Jesus gave us the example to. In deep abiding trust and willingness to surrender our ideas and plans and fears to the God who wrote the story, -Part A, Part B and everything before, in between and after.
I hope in this season when you are scrambling to plan meals and buy gifts and decorate and you find yourself looking forward to when it's all packed away, that you ask the question, "how do I fit into this story?"
You are the only one who knows what God has been trying to teach you all these years as you've muddled through the holiday season. Only you can ask Him what the "more" to the story is. Only you can ask to be shown how you fit into the rest of the story. Only you can want to know the more. I wish it for you, but I can't make you want it. Only you can want to know more.
Or are the two chapters of the story enough? Are the two chapters helping you face the hardest thing you've ever faced in your life? Are they getting all your questions answered? Is your list of "whys" getting shorter each year as you go from Part A in the story to Part B? If they are, great, this post isn't for you.
But if you're honest enough with yourself to say, "no", then know that God hears your call. If you want to know the more, he longs to show you the more. And if you don't, he's ever the gentleman and will continue to love you as He always has.
The story we've been told is beautiful. I can't imagine my life having not known either Part A or Part B. Please, Lord, let your story continue to be told, not just when the calendar and and stores say its time, but let the story blend into our story, our boring everyday life stories. Show us how that baby and that cross and that empty tomb matter for our heartbreaks and disappointments, our joys and our sorrows.
Let us ginosko "the rest of the story."