NOTE: The four Sundays preceding Christmas comprise the “Advent Season” on the liturgical church calendar. The word “advent” is a Latin translation of the Greek word for “appearing” and is the season of the Church calendar when we celebrate the first advent of Jesus, when He was born of the Virgin Mary in a stable in Bethlehem. The celebration of the full Advent season is something central in churches that follow the liturgical calendar. Though Wildwood does not follow this calendar throughout the year, I believe it is important for Christians to celebrate the true Christian “reason for the season” instead of just following the cultural norms of toys, Santa, and Jimmy Stewart. While all of those things are fun, they are not the reason for our celebration. Therefore, on this blog over the next 25 days, I will be posting frequently attempting to keep our focus on Christ this Christmas season. Enjoy!
My son loves football. That is very exciting for me. It is also very convenient. I love my son. I love football. The fact that I can love my son AND football at the same time is the male equivalent of Meg Ryan finding Tom Hanks in the park at the end of 1998’s “You’ve Got Mail.” It is having your cake and eating it too.
Before you convict me of imposing my will on an impressionable two year old, let me put three pieces of evidence before the court for your consideration:
Exhibit A: Josh WANTS to watch football on television. He asks about it, even when we are watching something else. When a two year old asks to watch a football game when Mickey Mouse is on TV, you know there is a proud papa somewhere.
Exhibit B: Josh frequently talks about “Coach Stoops.” A couple of weeks ago while we were driving up to Oklahoma City, Josh told me that he saw “Coach Stoops and some OU players in that other car.” Since the other car was a 1977 El Camino, I was pretty sure it was not Big Game Bob, but Josh is already seeing the world through Crimson colored glasses.
Exhibit C: Lately Josh spends a good deal of his play-time lining up his Fisher-Price “Little People” and having them play football games against each other. From what I can tell, Noah (from Noah’s ark) is the leading candidate for the Heisman. This is cute, but his infatuation with football also gets him into trouble. Over Thanksgiving, he would try to tackle his grandmother and girl cousins at inappropriate times. It was our own version of Bedlam.
Anyway, you get the idea, so I rest my case. Your witness . . .
Because of my son’s interest in football, it was a joy to get to take him to his first OU football game this fall. Kimberly, Josh, and I went to the Baylor game with our friend Becky. We had a ball. Josh was a bit scared of the Ruf-neks (who isn’t), but loved the cheering crowd, the “OU Players,” and the Sooner Schooner (pulled by the horses Boomer and Sooner.) Each time the schooner would appear Josh would stand up and wave “Hi horses! Hi horses!”
I tell you this long-winded story at the advent of advent this year because it reminds me of a great spiritual truth. In order to get my son into the OU game (a place he really wanted to go), someone had to do some planning. Calendars had to be cleared, tickets had to be purchased, appropriate attire had to be outfitted, necessary gear had to be packed. If being a parent has taught me anything, it is that you don’t get a child from point “A” to point “B” without a reasonable amount of planning. This axiom is true for going to the grocery store, and is especially true about going to an event like the football game. As parents we make these arrangements because we love our children and because we want them to be where we are.
Many times when we read the Christmas story in the Scriptures, we begin with Luke 1-2 or Matthew 1-2. At first glance these passages seem to begin the story of Jesus birth. They talk about the virgin conception, stable birth, angelic announcements, and visits by shepherds and Magi. In reality, however, these passages are not the beginning of the story at all. Indeed they show the birth of the Savior, but the plan for this child was conceived long before the Gospel stories commence. Beginning in Genesis 3:15 and continuing throughout the Old Testament, promises about the coming Savior dominate the pages of the Scripture. At least 61 different prophecies (many of them repeated by other prophets) were made about the coming Messiah in the Old Testament. (For a closer look at these prophecies, click this link: http://www.askapastor.org/proph.html — NOTE: I do not know this source, but found his work helpful, and thought you would as well.) All 61 of these prophecies were fulfilled in the earthly life of Jesus Christ. What this tells us is that God was planning Jesus birth, life, and death from the very beginning.
We may wonder why God was planning the birth of Jesus for so long. The answer is simple. Our Heavenly Father wanted to get His children, you and I, from point “A” (earth/separated from Him) to point “B” (heaven/in fellowship with Him) and this took millennia of planning. As our Heavenly Father He made these arrangements because He loves us and wants us to be where He is. Think about that as you start the advent season this year.