Space Mountain in Disney World has been the most memorable rollercoaster ride of my life. I had never been on anything like it in my life. I remember waiting forever in line for this ride too. Waiting… waiting… waiting… All I knew is that a ride in Disney World was supposed to be amazing. But I had no idea how good it was going to be! Wow! What a ride.
The whole ride was inside in pitch blackness. You couldn’t even see the track except for their silhouette against the video playing on the walls of the building. The video itself was about flying through space (hence the name Space Mountain). At one point during the ride it looked like the rollercoaster was going to go straight through the wall when, at the same time, an asteroid was flying directly at you. Just when it looked like you were going to hit the asteroid/wall the rollercoaster track took an immediate downturn! I was totally unprepared for this sudden drop. I did the only thing I knew to do: I screamed! What a rush that ride was! It was exhilarating and exciting. So, after the ride, I did what every good kid would do… I got back into line. Waiting was not a problem.
Well, Advent is a lot like waiting in line…again… for a ride we have already been on. You see, the first time we heard the truth about Jesus Christ, about how he became a man and was laid in a manger, about how he preached the truth and died for our sins, about how he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, was a lot like the first time we rode a rollercoaster. Hearing the story for the first time we were able to react to the story and to accept it as our own personal story.
But just like a little kid wants to ride any good ride a second time, Advent is that time of the year when we “ride” the story of salvation in Jesus Christ all over again. The first Sunday of Advent is the start of a new liturgical year. And every liturgical year is a retelling of the entire story of salvation: from Jesus’ Birth in Christmas, to his preaching in Ordinary Time, to his death and resurrection in Lent and Easter, to his Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. And advent, like waiting in line for a ride we’ve already been on, is a time of waiting as we prepare ourselves to relive the entire story of the Gospel one more time.
I could have ridden Space Mountain a hundred times and never have been bored. In the same way I have relieved the story of salvation in Jesus Christ 44 years in a row… it is still as enlivening as the first time! So let us use this Advent to get excited for another ride along the story of salvation.