Around this time last year, my family and I visited the Capilano Suspension Bridge for the first time. Everything was lit up for Christmas, accentuating the natural beauty of the place. It was an incredible experience. But perhaps the most memorable part of our visit was our departure.
We had our one-year-old son in a stroller, and as we headed to the exit, I saw the turnstiles – the kind with three bars that rotate forward and allow one person to get out at a time. I assumed that if that was the exit, strollers must be able to get out that way. I was very, very wrong.
I pushed the stroller through the first bar but it got caught while the second bar squeezed in from behind. I tried pushing more, which just made it worse. We were definitely stuck. And in that moment, as the reality of the situation dawned on me, I looked beside the turnstiles and I saw a door. I realized that I had seen this door before, but my brain hadn’t registered its purpose. There’s a picture on it of a stroller and the word, “Exit.” Apparently, the turnstiles are not the only way out.
Soon, we’ve got four employees surrounding us, trying to get the stroller out. They tell me that this is pretty common – in other words, I’m not the only complete idiot they’ve come across! One employee helpfully points out the stroller exit door, you know, for future reference. “Yeah, thanks. I see that now.” (Seriously, their employees were awesome and hid their amazement at my blunder like professionals!)
After an excruciating amount of time, I finally remembered that the wheels on the stroller could disconnect. This is our ticket out! We freed the stroller and sprinted to our car before the gathering and amused masses could start posting our “situation” on Instagram.
That whole incident reminded me how easily I can miss the obvious and how important it is to take note of my surroundings. I saw the door before, but I didn’t really see it, I didn’t notice it. That’s the case for many of us, and not just with how to get out of a building, but in much more important matters in life. It’s the case during a season like Christmas.
The command to “look” or “behold” occurs in the New Testament of the Bible more than 200 times, including seven times in Luke’s version of the Christmas story. Why? I mean, it’s just a birth, right? The birth of a baby to a poor couple who couldn’t find a place to sleep that night.
It’s sad but it’s hardly unique, it’s not going to make the news in first-century Israel. You could easily let it pass you by.
But then there are these signs that something more is going on. You’ve got angels appearing to shepherds and telling them, “Look! The saviour has been born!”
You’ve got these dignitaries from the East who find out that a king has been born and travel to Bethlehem to see him. You’ve got Mary, a virgin, who is told she’s going to have a child. If you’re looking, something incredible has happened. God has made His dwelling among us. The birth of Jesus, Son of God, says that God has not abandoned us in this world, but has come to save us through His redeeming love.
May you truly see this Christmas – beyond the noise, beyond the blinding lights and blaring ads – the good news that God has made His dwelling among humanity in order to save us. ■
Craig Thiessen is the lead pastor of The Bridge Church, which meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at the BlueShore Centre at CapU. Bridge will be hosting an outdoor Christmas carol concert in the parking lot of their future church at 1384 Deep Cove Rd., on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.