Have you ever sent an email with an attachment, only to receive a reply from someone who commented on your message but never actually opened and read your attachment? This has happened to me upon occasion. In my frustration, I’ve typically replied back with, “you need to check out the attachment first, and then get back to me.”
I’ve experienced a similar frustration with Facebook memes I’ve shared when clearly the comments returned were made without the writer having bothered to click on my posted link. I want to say back, “please check out the actual story and then send your comment.”
Knowing how I’ve felt about people who read my emails but don’t open my attachments, or my FB posts but don’t check out the link on my meme, I wonder how God feels when we respond to His words in scripture without checking out His Word in Jesus Christ. How might God take it when we fail to open His attachment, or check out His link?
In many respects, Christmas is really about God’s sending us an attachment that needs opening before we reply or “get back to” God with our comment. Placed in biblical perspective, the Bible itself is like the body of an email with the Gospel being the attachment. The Gospel story of Jesus found in Matthew – John of the New Testament is God’s principle attachment which the actual email is pointing toward. In similar analogy, Advent itself is like the email sent to introduce God’s attached file marked Gospel of Jesus Christ.
And now let me offer up a confession.
There are times when I have skipped over the reading of someone’s email, or even Facebook posting, and gone straight to the attachment or the link further down in the meme. That’s what I’m tempted to do every December where Christmas is concerned. Forget Advent. Cut to the chase. Skip the preparations. Just open the attachment and then reply. Only I’m not sure my reply then makes a whole lot of sense to God. And I imagine God may say back to me, “please go back and read my email first and then open this attachment.”
It’s a mistake either way whether we get only the front end or back end of the biblical God story.
Jesus is God’s text within our own human context. He is God’s Gospel attachment but He will never make complete sense to us if all we do is click on that attachment. So while we can’t make complete sense of God without opening the Jesus Christ file He has attached for us, neither can we make sense of that Gospel attachment if we don’t read God’s actual email leading up to it.
We need the rest of scripture to understand the Christ. We need to understand humanity before we can fully understand the Son of Man born in this deepest darkness of that lowest Bethlehem. We need the context before we can grasp the text itself. And we need to open and read the Advent message of humanity’s darkest Night before we can grasp the Christmas story of God’s brightest Light. We need to fully take in both of these before we “get back to God” with our comment and reply.
It’s about opening God’s attachment. After we’ve read the email subject: Re. Advent.