Driving will bring you to a crossroads and more than just the intersection where two roads meet. Looking forward while looking back… at some point that road ahead crosses over becoming the road you’re currently driving on and soon becomes a tiny image in the rear view mirror.
The crossroads of what is ahead, where you’re at now and what lies behind is a constantly moving point of existence…
The driver, vigilant to all three spaces, must navigate the journey paying attention to each sector. Keeping a keen eye on the road ahead for traffic patterns, twists and turns, obstacles in the road… all the while paying heed to the vehicle’s current speed, position, maneuvering, fuel level, warning lights, passengers… and consulting the mirror image of where you’ve been to avoid unexpected impact from what follows too close behind…
The crossroads of all three realities never ceases until the journey ends.
Christmas brings us precisely into just such a collision: past, present and future. We celebrate today because of what happened thousands of years ago which gives us vision for the future. Scrolling through social media tonight I saw this repeated again and again as families posted pictures of today’s celebrations, past memories and hopes for the future. And it is beautiful really… how Christmas is this beautiful collision of what was, what is and what is yet to come.
As Advent beckons us to prepare our hearts for the coming we presently prepare for a coming remembered over and over again and the hope for a future yet to come.
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you[a] a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and[c] will call him Immanuel.
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 1:15-17
Christmas meets us here… first Christmas, current Christmas, the future yet to come. That beautiful collision sends concussive ripples, cascading waves of impact in all directions.
The coming of Christ changed things, Mary and Joseph would tell us more than we can imagine. The scenes from the nativity and the shepherds coming to see the Messiah born that night in Bethlehem display the power that brought praising and rejoicing that night.
And on through his-story we see the gospel message, the good news, brought ever widening ripples of change to the Jewish and Roman worlds. All the way through history to this present moment and the waves come cascading into our lives and bring us salvation, redemption joy, hope and peace this Christmas day.
What future lies ahead? As the dynamic message of the Messiah continues to reverberate in our lives, what impact will the future bring?
Thank God for the wondrous moment of the collision of Christmas past, present and future combined.