“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.”
Advent is about waiting, as the writer of Titus puts it, for “the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” When I was a child, our family always put up a Nativity scene in our living room.
I loved it because it had realistic figures and they all lived in a wooden stable that my dad had built. But we never placed the three kings in the scene. Instead, we positioned them across the room, then every day from Christmas until Epiphany, we moved them a little closer. The grouping included a figurine that I took to be the camel tender along with a camel. His head was back and his eyes were up, as if looking for the star that led his Magi.
Finally, on Jan. 6, we moved the three kings (and the camel and camel tender) to the manger, and their Christmas journey was complete. Still, the camel tender’s eyes were in the sky. To me, he represents the never ending quest for what it means that Jesus lived among humans; that we’re always looking for that which will lead us to Jesus.
Christmas is the end of much waiting, but it also the beginning, as the writer of Titus reminds us – the beginning of the journey to live as Christ would have us live, “zealous for good deeds.”
Great Creator, we pray for the ability to keep looking ahead even as we think we have found our destination. Help us remember as we anticipate the arrival of Christmas that the journey to live as faithful Christians never ends, but rather begins anew every Christmas. Amen.