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“The Build Up”

Musings and Memories

Doug Dezotell
Posted 12/4/21

The beginning of the school year and autumn colors meant one thing to me…Christmas was coming!  

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“The Build Up”

Musings and Memories

Posted

When the leaves on the trees throughout town would begin to change their color… And as I sat in my desk at Lewis and Clark Elementary School… I would daydream of all the wonders of things to come.  

The beginning of the school year and autumn colors meant one thing to me…Christmas was coming!  

Every fall my siblings and I would anxiously await the arrival of those treasured Christmas catalogues. The “books of dreams” as I liked to think of them. Those “shop now— pay later” Christmas wish books from Montgomery Ward and Sears and Penney’s.  

Once they arrived we would fight over who would get the catalogs first to flip to those wonderful back pages loaded with the most amazing toys of every child’s imagination. It wouldn’t be long, and the pages would be dogeared and folded to mark our spot, and items would be circled with pencil or crayon and our names written alongside the pictures.  

Those torn and tattered retail magazines were a big part of the build-up to what lay ahead for the Dezotell children in those chilly and then frigid autumn and winter months in Eastern North Dakota. I mean, who didn’t long for the arrival of Christmas?  

Everyone I knew back then sure did. Right now, here in the first week of December of 2021, we are at the beginning of the Advent Season.  

In Christian churches celebrating Advent involves spending time in spiritual preparation, personally, or as a family, and as a local congregation for remembering the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas. 

In Western Christianity, the tradition is that the Season of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30.  

This past Sunday, November 28, was the first Sunday of Advent. Advent will last through Christmas Eve, or December 24.  

Many Christian churches celebrate Advent not only by thanking God for Christ’s first coming to Earth as a baby, but also in anticipation of Christ’s Second Coming, the Second Advent, at the end of the ag The word advent comes from the Latin term adventus meaning “arrival” or “coming.”  

It’s most often used in reference to something arriving that holds utmost or great importance. For Christian denominations that celebrate the Advent Season it marks the beginning of the Church Year.  

As the pastor of a local congregation, I prepare a series of Advent sermons, building up to the day that we celebrate the Birth of Christ, or Christmas Day.  

This past Sunday my sermon addressed the question of why God chose the young Hebrew lady, Mary of Nazareth, to be the mother of His Only Begotten Son here on Earth.  

That whole thing caught Mary totally by surprise. Her day was interrupted by the visit of a Messenger from Heaven, an angelic being named Gabriel (which means God is my strength). His appearance was a shock to Mary, and so was his message for her.  

Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Rejoice, beloved young woman, for the Lord is with you and you are anointed with great favor.  

“Do not yield to your fear, Mary, for the Lord has found delight in you and has chosen to surprise you with a wonderful gift.  

“You will become pregnant with a baby boy, and you are to name Him Jesus. He will be supreme and will be known as the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God will enthrone Him as King on the throne of His ancestor David. He will reign as King of Israel forever, and His reign will have no limit.”  

Mary said, “But how could this happen? I am still a virgin!”  

Gabriel answered, “The Spirit of Holiness will fall upon you and almighty God will spread His shadow of power over you in a cloud of glory! This is why the child born to you will be holy, and He will be called the Son of God. Not one promise from God is empty of power. Nothing is impossible with God!”  

Then Mary responded, saying, “Yes! I will be a mother for the Lord! As His servant, I accept whatever He has for me. May everything you have told me come to pass.”  

And the angel left her. (From The Gospel of Luke in The Passion Translation)  

I can’t imagine what was going through the mind of this young lady. She was engaged, committed, or betrothed to a Hebrew man named Joseph.  

How was she going to tell him what just happened? And what was about to happen? How was she going to tell her parents? Or her friends? Would anyone even believe her? Maybe she could hide it, and not tell anyone. And then her young body began to change, and the Baby began to grow within her. Can you imagine “the build-up?” The waiting and anticipation?  

Our waiting and wondering is nothing compared to what that young lady from the hill country of Galilee in Israel was going through more than 2,000 years ago.  

The ‘build-up” in her life was going to change the history of mankind. She believed that with all her heart. But not everyone else believed her.  

Her fiancé, Joseph, didn’t. He was a good, kind man, and wondered how he could break off the engagement without publicly shaming or hurting her and her family. Then one night in a powerful, life-changing dream, God convinced Joseph that what Mary had told him was true.  

While he was still debating with himself about what to do, he fell asleep and had a supernatural dream. In that dream an angel from the Lord appeared to him and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t hesitate to take Mary into your home as your wife, because the power of the Holy Spirit has conceived a child in her womb. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him ‘Savior,’ (Jesus) for He is destined to give His life to save His people from their sins.”  

This happened to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through His prophet: “Listen! A virgin will be pregnant, she will give birth to a Son, and He will be known as “Emmanuel,” which means in Hebrew, “God became one of us.”  

When Joseph woke from his dream, he did all that the angel of the Lord instructed him to do. He took Mary to be his wife, but they refrained from being intimate until she gave birth to her firstborn son, whom they named “Jesus.” (From The Gospel of Matthew in The Passion Translation)  

Our personal preparations for the Christmas Season, for the Season of Advent, are nothing compared to the “build-up,” the preparations and anticipation of that young Hebrew couple from Nazareth who knew they would have the responsibility of raising the Savior of the World.  

That was the Ultimate Build-Up.  

Our Christmas preparations and our Advent celebrations should all be in remembrance of that time long ago in the history of our world…that time that changed everything…the Birth of God With Us. 

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