I am a Pokémon Go playing pastor. About 5 months ago, I noticed someone standing outside my study window playing with their phone. Apparently the church building, more specifically the sign directly outside my study, is a pokéstop. I’ve been playing ever since. If you aren’t familiar with the game, the objective is to “catch ‘em all” by wandering all over creation to find pokémon placed in real world locations. Some pokémon are common, popping up every few blocks, and some pokémon are so rare that I’m still missing 41, though I’ve walked a total of 366 kilometers to find them.
And ever since the first week I began playing, I have been searching for one particular pokémon. In the mornings my son and I take walks around town looking for it before I drop him off at school. If I’m walking around town to meet someone, or work on the honey-do list, I’m looking for him. When I get home from work, I’m often greeted by the question, “Did you catch him today?” And every day for the last five months I’ve answered, “No Buddy, I didn’t even see him.” But today, just as I sat down for my lunch break, half way through last nights leftovers, I spotted him. Somewhere in this town there was a Snorlax.
As good as my lunch was, I dropped my fork, picked up my phone and threw on my coat. I would need the coat because it was just warm enough outside to be raining instead of snowing. I clicked the tracker, and it told me this rare pokémon was somewhere near the Nazarene church. So I began my hike, and about half a mile later the battle to catch him began. I used the best items I had in my pursuit, and more pokéballs than I would like to admit, but after 5 months of wondering if I would ever see him I finally caught my Snorlax.
And it immediately reminded me of Christmas.
Two thousand years ago, people had been waiting much longer for something much more precious than a Snorlax. Since the days of Adam they had been waiting for a better representative. Since the days of Moses they had been waiting for a better prophet. Since the days of David they had been waiting for a better king. And then one day after all the waiting, it finally happened. Jesus, God who took on flesh, was born in a manger. The one all God’s people had been waiting for since the beginning. The perfect prophet, priest, king, and sacrifice for our sins came to earth.
And far away in the east God put out a tracker that the wise men would follow, probably even further than 366 kilometers. They went to find the one who would be called a Nazarene. They brought their most precious gifts to lay at his feet. Because he was the one God’s people had been searching for since the beginning. He was the only one worth an all-encompassing pursuit.
So this advent, let’s join the wise men in pursuit of Jesus. I hope my indifference to the rain and my lunch are but a shadow of the indifference we will have to the hurdles that come from pursuing Jesus with our whole lives. I hope that the spare moments I find to seek pokémon are dwarfed by seeking the return of Jesus in every moment of our days. We know one day he will come back a final time, though the day and the hour are unknown to all but the Father. But when he comes let us be prepared. Let us be following after him as we repent and believe in him every day through Advent and the rest of our lives.