A lot of our life hoovers around the question, “What’s next?” A year ago, I don’t think any of us would have answered: pandemic. Yet life inexorably moved ahead in its journey through time and we still needed to prepare for tomorrow. For no one hoped for such times, but that is not for us to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
And we were just given the Season of Advent. We were asked to prepare, to wait in expectation for Emmanuel, God-with-us, the promised from of old, the King of Kings…and now it is Christmas. And our Savior is born to us!
Other parts of our life are not so defined and concentrated into a period of time such as Advent. Nonetheless, they are as expectant with anticipation, and they too exist with the question, “What’s next?”
There is a whole range of sequential parts of our life where the answer to “what’s next” is mostly clear, can be assumed with a high degree of certainty, and are even perhaps inevitable. Elementary school gives way to high school, gives way to college, and then there is entry into an undiscovered land of jobs, life, family, travel, and who knows what!
These are all the choices we make, the hopes we have, the plans we make, the “what’s next” questions we face, and the journey into an undiscovered country.
I know that I never would have guessed the arc and trajectory my life has taken. What’s next was a question without a clear answer – it unfolded – and as it unfolded I tried to always keep the Faith and the Hope in our Savior. It has worked out – not like I thought – but even better.
All of our stories unfold, we turn the pages, and we live the life given us – keeping the Faith. Decide what to do with the time given us.
The story of God’s love unfolding in our lives as it has been unfolding throughout Advent.
Mary – The Annunciation and a journey to the hill country to see her cousin.
Joseph – his dream, deciding what to do, taking Mary into his home.
Their plans redirected by the power of the Holy Spirit
Their travels directed by the census order by Caesar
The “what’s next” never what they hoped for or saw coming. Each day in faith.
Their story ever unfolding in the grace of the Savior born to them, wrapped in swaddling. For today, to named Jesus. In some future tomorrow to be called Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace, Good Shepherd, King of Kings and Lord or Lords, and Savior.
Mary and Joseph celebrated this day – what’s next will keep until tomorrow.
As Mary and Joseph’s plans unfold into a “what’s next” they never saw coming, they will step into that undiscovered land, journeying by the light of Faith, with only one instruction “Do not be afraid” – because Emmanuel, God is with us.
Indeed Emmanuel, God with us is here. What’s next for us? What journey will we walk in faith, following the example of the Holy Family? That’s for tomorrow.
Tomorrow we begin the next steps into the undiscovered country of our lives in faith.
For tonight, we celebrate, for to us a Savior has been born – and we all proclaim “Alleluia, Alleluia”