Christmas Trains and Advent

I have a quirky frustration with things which get labeled “Christian.” I often find them to be agenda driven and/or cheesy. So thankfully, over the weekend I got to participate in something I assumed would be both. My family and in-laws all went to the Christmas train outside of Pryor, OK. It is a real 19th century steam engine which takes you on the tour of the real story of Christmas. It explores creation, the fall, and then the coming and life of Jesus.

I climbed aboard the train totally prepared to rip the presentation apart. I quit making comments after my wife told me how pompous I sounded. Then we brain-stormed how to distract the three- and four-year-olds from the stabbing of a rubber crucified Jesus. (Although apparently this gruesome scene of torture is exciting for over-churched 3 -year-olds.)

So I sat in the train trying to pick the presentation apart as we approached the prophets telling the a messiah was on the way. Then we met a girl named Mary, who in turn met an angel. That angel spoke to her husband and they started a journey towards the city of David.

I wanted to write it off as lame. I wanted to not enjoy it. But I found my heart quickening. I got goosebumps. I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation. I was starting to tear up.

With each click of the track, each blast of steam, and every “choo-choo” I found myself getting more and more excited and overwhelmed.

Why?

Jesus is coming. Jesus is coming. Jesus is coming!!!!

With all the frustration I can have with the religion that bears his name, Jesus has yet to let me down. He is beautiful, powerful, wonderful and I have found no experience quite like that of Jesus showing up.

He infuses life with meaning and beauty and shows a better way to be human. So even if I think the method is cheesy and flawed, I cannot help but get excited when Jesus is on the way.

In fact, more often than not I find Jesus showing up in the places I least expect him to anyway.

That is how I want to live my life:

Jesus is coming. Jesus is coming. Jesus is coming!!!!

And not just in the sense that he is one day coming back to set the world to rights, but in the sense that each moment carries the possibility of Jesus showing up and meeting me right where I am in some new and beautiful way.

Over the last few years, the way I have nurtured this way of life is through the practice and season of Advent. Advent is the time where we enter into hopeful anticipation of the arrival of Christ. In fact, I often find the months of October and November to be times where I am the least hopeful and most longing for the season of Advent.

So we want to share in this practice on our blog, in the hope that it will make all of us live with the constant awareness that Jesus is coming.

If you are unfamiliar with the season of Advent, we recommend starting with this article from Rob Bell.

On the blog, we will spend this week exploring what Advent means to us. Our guest post will even be how one of our friends has made it a very special event with her family and friends. Then next week we will be doing some practices together to help us celebrate this season.

But this week, we want to remind you: no matter where you find yourself this week: Hopeful, frustrated, down, discouraged….

Remember….

Jesus is coming.

Jesus is coming.

Jesus is coming!!!!

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