The Lesser-known Journeys of Advent

While we hold the pages of scripture in our hands, often we find it difficult to imagine our story in the midst of God’s story.

Throughout this season, we have considered the stories of lesser-known characters of the Christmas story. By looking at the lives of these lesser-know people whose stories are forever connected to the incarnation narrative, it is hoped that we will get a glimpse of the nature of our own STORY in the midst of the STORY of the Gospel.

My story in the midst of the Gospel Story

These lesser-known stories demonstrate God’s response and answer to the prayer of Isaiah 64:1 “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down”. In these stories we see God’s great love and plan of salvation ultimately revealed through the journeys of everyday people.

Zechariah - Luke’s gospel invites us to “know the certainty of the things we have been taught” by sharing the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth. They were righteous in God’s eyes yet childless in their old age. Their journey describes God breaking through time in an unlikely way in preparing the way for the Lord. Their journey provides a distinctly human snapshot of fear and questioning that once developed provides a bit of a “double exposure” of God’s covenant demonstrated in the lives of Abraham and Sarah. It is fitting that Zechariah’s name means “the Lord has remembered”.

Joseph - Matthew’s gospel connects the testaments of scripture by painting a genealogical history that concludes with Joseph, the husband of Mary. Matthew describes Joseph as a righteous man who demonstrates grace in his unwillingness to expose his expecting betrothed to public disgrace. Joseph makes what would appear to be an unlikely course correction of obedience after encountering an angelic vision. He is an everyday person who encountered a break-through moment with a messenger of God who steps forward in faith. It is fitting that Joseph’s obedience demonstrates the meaning of his name - “may Jehovah increase”.

The Magi – Matthew’s gospel continues by sharing an unlikely visit from Magi from the east. A group of wise men that searched for years, obediently journeying and bringing gifts of worship for the “King of the Jews”. This un-numbered group of journeyers had a break-through encounter that directed their path toward the Christ child and back to their country of origin where they undoubtedly shared their God-sized encounter.

Simeon - And this week Sunday we will look to the second chapter of Luke as we consider the lesser-known story of Simeon, the righteous and devout servant whose name means “God Receiver”. Simeon too had a break-through encounter with God as the Holy Spirit revealed that he “would not see death until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah”. In his journey we are overcome by an amazing sense of peace at the fulfilled promise heard long ago. Simeon lovingly takes the infant Christ in his arms, blesses God, and proclaims, “I have received and seen the sign of the promise”.

In the lesser-known stories of Zechariah, Joseph, the Maji, and Simeon we see pictures of everyday people who shared break-through encounters with God and who responded in faithful obedience. These everyday believers celebrated the journey that forever placed their stories within the story of the Gospel – the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ.

In is my prayer that those who come behind us may find us faithful, celebrating the light that has shined in the darkness as we journey forward in faith.

Celebrating the Journey!

Jeff Allen

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