“And if you search for Him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.” Deuteronomy 4:29
James Michener, the fictional author known for his meticulous research, published The Source in 1965. It is based on an archeological dig, and with each layer of history that is unearthed, Michener imagines people who lived during that period. At the deepest layer, Michener recreates the scene of early civilization in which people worshipped various gods. Part of the worship in this period included men visiting temple prostitutes (much like Canaanite worship during the Old Testament).
In one scene a man leaves his wife and children to cross the village and enter the temple. The wife stands watching him from the door of her home and says in resignation, “If he had a different god, he would be a different man.”
What isn’t fictional about Michener’s book is that digging through history reveals humanity’s ongoing ways we have responded to spiritual yearnings. God put within us a desire to know God. Moses passed on a great promise to the people of Israel, “If you search for God with all your heart and soul, you will find him.” God is a revealing God. God comes to us to reveal God’s love and plan for the world. The greatest revelation is Jesus Christ.
Yet revelation requires seeking. God’s revelations are never so plain and obvious as not to require some effort and investigation on our part to know and understand God. That is why we are calling our Advent/Christmas series this year Searching for Christmas. Like archeologists, we are going to dig past Christmas to the prophecies that long ago built anticipation and hope within people for a future Messiah. We will seek to understand these ancient promises, where they come from, how they speak to our own hopes today, and why it is believed that Jesus fulfills these expectations.
Advent comes from a latin word meaning “to come to.” This season marks the beginning of the Christian year. In other words, our spiritual life begins in seeking to understand the God who seeks us. Advent is important because we are invited to shake off the false gods that clamor for our devotion and worship, so that in seeking the true God, we become our true selves. So pull out your shovel and brush and get ready to begin Searching for Christmas.