From the book Pause With Jesus: Encountering His Story in Everyday Life

Enter the storyline.

Study the plot, finally detecting ourselves there; spiritually perceiving that story here with us in the now. This now. This moment.

Where do we start? Where the story starts, in the beginning of all. During the voyage of mistake-prone people. Wars and questions and confusion and silence. Jump toward the story’s segment of bringing a solution as Gabriel reports the birth of John, a future adventurer and rebel and leader who would work near the water.

Read about Jerusalem, about Nazareth, about ancestry of Jesus—that Child to become a world changer, that One related to and promised by the Baptizer, that One these sentences highlight, really. An interesting genealogy. History. People. Travelers, natives, doubters, sinners, saints, leaders, followers, rebels: all.

Think of the stories within the story.

Think about you.

Think about me.

An announcement to young Mary. A time together for Mary and Elizabeth. An angel engaged in deep dialogue with Joseph about his sweetheart expecting a child and him knowing this wasn’t caused by him.

How did they feel?

How would we feel?

Put yourself in Mary’s place. In Joseph’s place. Obvious proof declaring the impossible a reality. Trust triggered by an angel’s voice. The honor of selection coincides with the humiliation of public opinion. The unlikely happens. The unexpected elected. The normal routine of life interrupted abruptly never ever to be the same.

Let’s continue the journey with them. Bethlehem. A decree of Caesar Augustus and the birth of a Messiah as a tiny, needy, fleshly, baby. His skin? His breath? His craving for milk? His eyes slowly, slowly, slowly opening to see a world that would have a very difficult time seeing Him as He was.

What did He hear?

What can I hear and see and learn about my own cravings, my own eyes slowly, slowly, slowly opening?

Shepherds—those workers in their world coming to see the changer of all worlds. Angels and a baby? Typical guys included in a captivating story. Magi—at some time in the story coming to visit, amid friction and tension and political insecurity of a leader. A sky and a baby? Mystics and gifts and adventures and governmental power struggles aren’t so new after all. Oh, Jerusalem. Circumcision and a temple. Tradition, rules, guidelines. A place, a nation, a journey. Egypt, Nazareth, Jerusalem: those early years.

Yes, a journey. Beginning with travel as preparation for a future journey, maybe.

The opinions of others already at work.

The realities of a bigger picture also at work.