I know it been forever since I’ve contributed to this blog, and I also knew it would take something significant to get me to actually sit down and write again. The good news is, friends, that I’ve found that something significant to share, and it’s a book I’ve been reading this month.
I strongly suggest you get a copy of Russ Ramsey’s Behold the Lamb of God : An Advent Narrative. I first discovered this book earlier this fall, while visiting one of my favorite websites, www.RabbitRoom.com , where you can read about our God’s love for the arts, in the beauty of His creation that is this world. The book also shares its title with an amazing compilation of music from Andrew Peterson. Each Christmas, Andrew and a troupe of artists travel the country to share Behold the Lamb of God, live in concert, to tell the musical story of the coming of Christ. Angie and I have seen this concert several times over the last six years. Each time taking friends to come along and enjoy the beautiful evening of music and laughter. It’s the perfect way to start the Christmas season.
Just like Peterson’s music, Ramsey’s book has been a blessing to me this 2011 Christmas season. It has allowed me to receive the all so familiar Christmas and see it once again with new eyes. A lot of people try to do this every year, during the holidays, and present the Gospel story with a new spin, in efforts to reach those who have yet to hear it. Or to reach out to those would normally let the greatest story ever told fall upon deaf ears. Although I appreciate those people’s efforts and their creativity, I’m choosing to write for the first time in …. for Pete’s sake …. almost a year … to tell you how I’m reconnecting with the “old, old, story” that I love this Christmas.
Behold the Lamb of God, not only is an amazing narrative for the season of Advent, but it is also a clear and beautiful reminder to yours truly how the coming of Christ is the also the climax to the even larger adventure / love story, that is better known as the Bible.
(Insert Screeching Halt Sound Effect)
Some of you are now wondering one of two things …
a) “Wait just one minute, Aquila … What are you talking about? The Bible is a bunch of stories, which took place sooooo long ago, and are now amassed together in one book …” A book most of us will never take the time to read from cover to cover, because we’d rather just skip around and hit the stories we remember from flannel-graph time during Sunday school.
OR b) “Hey J … Duh. Why do you think all of those amazing stories we put together in one big book?”
I’ll admit that, before reading Ramsey’s book, I found myself encamped with group A. I loved all the Sunday school stories from my childhood. I understood how each story displayed how God used significant characters in the Bible to avoid a flood and save some animals and their family from drowning, or a mission to free slaves from the bondage of work camps and create a new nation of their own, and how one man can make a difference with a rock and sling. I loved hearing the stories of how God used people to change the world for His glory back in those days. Each story was remarkable all on its own, and I can recount most of these stories without the use of the Good Book as reference.
And yet somehow, through recently starting to read this Advent narrative, at 33 years old, I’m finally piecing together how each Biblical story (Old Testament and New) is uniquely connected to the telling one major, overlapping story. And that the story being told is how God loves His creation so much, that ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, He has been fitting to win us back. That He loved us enough to leave His high place, at the Throne of Heaven, to come down to Earth to be amongst us in the flesh. He became a messenger of redemption, and declared Himself the Son of God, in hopes of drawing His creation back to Him for good.
Behold the Lamb of God has shown me that every piece of the puzzle, that are the stories of the Old Testament, leads up to humanity discovering the one missing piece of the puzzle, which is Jesus. He’s the piece of the puzzle that makes assembling the rest of the puzzle so easy to finish. Only through finding Jesus can we clearly see the masterpiece, that is God’s unending love for His children. This year (through the help of Ramsey’s book) the true, tall-tale of the Coming of Christ, makes both the Old and New Testament come alive, once again in a way I have never been able to see before.
I know this is going to change everything about how I read scripture and how I attend church. It has to. There’s simply no way to going back to how I used to see the Bible and my relationship with God.
I only wish I had come to this realization sooner.