Advent Calendars

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

We have a tradition in my family of getting Lego Advent calendars every year. Technically, they’re Christmas countdown calendars, since they have a door to open for each day from December 1 to 24. Behind each door is a mini Lego set and instructions to build it. This year, the calendar is Harry Potter-themed. Of course, since it’s Lego, it’s not enough to have a broad theme—this year’s calendar seems to be showing off aspects of the first book and the very first time Harry traveled to Hogwarts, the magical school. Every day, we discover something new that fills in more of the story.

It’s been a week since we started the calendar, and still every single day my kids ask, “Can we open the next door early? What do you think will be in it? Can we find out soon?” Every single day I respond, “We’ll have to wait and see what happens tomorrow when we open the next one.”

Even though it’s been only a week and there are seventeen doors left to go, we’ve figured out the theme very clearly. Though the details are missing, the story is clear: this set of Legos is telling the story of the first few chapters of the first Harry Potter book. We don’t know exactly what will happen over the next two weeks, but we’ve got a pretty good idea from the way it started.

Our lives as Christians are often similar, aren’t they? After even a short time as a Christian, we can see the theme of God’s work in our lives: repentance and forgiveness, the guidance and gifts of the Holy Spirit, the new life we receive in Jesus Christ, the responsibility we have to love and care for each other. The longer we follow Jesus, the more clearly we see how God has acted in our lives and remains faithful into the future. Our lives change, as each new door opens— but whatever is behind the door, God is with us.

It’s more than that God is with us, though. When I look at the last week’s Lego Advent surprises, I see the beginning of Harry Potter’s journey to Hogwarts. When I look back at the decades of my life, I see ways that God was working. Seemingly disconnected events and people are part of a bigger story of God’s transforming grace. And even though I sometimes wish I could look ahead into what’s coming behind the next door, all I can do is take it one day at a time.

In this season of Advent, it is good to be reminded that although our futures may not be clear, our faith is. Jesus Christ is the same in our yesterdays, and today, and in all the days to come.

 

Dear Jesus, even when the doors in my life hold uncertainty, remind me that you are always faithful and present, and that you are working for good in my life. Amen.