As the Advent season draws to a close tonight, take the time to slow down, stop, and really ponder what it must have been like, waiting… and waiting… generation after generation, seemingly never getting any closer to the fulfillment of the promise of the Messiah, who would redeem not only Israel but the whole world from their sins. Simeon, so old yet so sure that God would not let him miss that fulfillment. Anna, eighty years a widow, so in love with God and eager to see His word come to pass. The Magi, scanning the skies night after night for a sign they couldn’t fully understand.
A bunch of ol’ redneck shepherds, hoping for a night with no greater excitement than a round of telling tall tales.
And none of them–not one–had any idea of the role they were about to play in the greatest story ever told or that it would commence, not in centuries, not in decades, not in years, but within hours.
The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation…. There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many sceptical men have accepted as true on its own merits…. It is not difficult to imagine the peculiar excitement and joy that one would feel, if any specially beautiful fairy story were found to be ‘primarily’ true, its narrative to be history, without thereby losing the mythical or allegorical significance that it had possessed…. The Christian joy, the Gloria, is of the same kind; but it is preeminently (infinitely, if our capacity were not finite) high and joyous. But this story is supreme; and it is true. Art has been verified. God is the Lord, of angels, and of men—and of elves. Legend and History have met and fused.
–J. R. R. Tolkien, “On Fairy-Stories”
Still, today we’re in the prologue of this greatest of tales. Stop. Think. Savor this moment.
Something’s coming. Something that will change the course of human history forever.
And the world has no blessed clue.