Do you have a friend that always ruins new television shows, movies, or books for you by telling you the ending? Online, the word that everyone uses is “spoiler.” If an online conversation is going to talk about a big surprise, or how a movie or television show end before everyone has a chance to watch them, then the beginning of the conversation is often labelled “Spoiler Alert” so that you can choose to stop reading those posts and ruin the surprise for yourself.
Avoiding spoilers is sort of the same reason that I encourage everyone to attend church and participate in all our Advent worship services between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Skipping Advent and showing up at Christmas Eve is a lot like buying a new book and reading the last chapter first, or fast forwarding and watching the ending before you watch the rest of the movie. Sure, the story is the same either way, but by starting at the end rather than at the beginning, and by skipping the character development, the plot twists, and the natural growth of the story we miss much of the excitement and anticipation as the story evolves.
All those reasons are a part of why we celebrate Advent. It isn’t because we don’t already know how the story turns out, but it’s a lot like rereading a favorite book, or rewatching a favorite movie. A week or two ago, Patti and I were re-watching Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” movie, and there were several times when one of us would say, “Oh, I didn’t remember that part.” But each of those parts made watching the whole movie even better.
Christmas is like that. Christmas Eve is the last chapter, the denouement, the conclusion, the finale, the big ending. It’s a great part of the story, but there’s so much more to it that we often forget from year to year and the story is so much stronger, and the anticipation greater, if we start at the beginning.
And so, once again, I invite you to join me as we journey through the Advent season, as we remember the whole story, dig into the character development, plot twists, and the natural evolution of the story. Trust me, just like reading a good book, or watching a favorite movie, starting at the beginning will make the ending even more awesome.
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