15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through him and for him.
17 He is before all things, and by him all things hold together. 18 He is also the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile
everything to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21 Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds as expressed in your evil actions. 22 But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him— 23 if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. – Colossians 1:15-23
If you watch enough movies and read enough books and peruse Instagram a few times, you begin to feel a certain expectation. You begin to question what your grand purpose is. What your story is supposed to say to the world. There’s even a space called “social media” designed for you to play your story all day long. “You can be the hero!” the not-so-subtle message declares. Yet, you may question if you are interesting enough, have done enough, have crusaded for the righteous cause enough. People may poke you a bit about it, too … “why are you not using your platform for XYZ?” After all, the message is clear, you are supposed to be a hero, at home, in the office, and on the internet.
But it is all a lie. You and I aren’t meant to be heroes. The weight of hero expectation is suffocating, especially in the Christmas season. Especially in a pandemic where we have such little control over what is happening all around us.
Take a really deep soul cleansing breath, and hear this loud and clear: We were never meant to be the heroes of the story. However, when you have an underlying expectation that you should be, that brings shame and narcissism. We often spend copious amounts of time dreaming and thinking we are meant to be.
The irony about people who we view as “iconic” or “heroic,” is they are rarely thinking of themselves, or how the optics of a situation is going to play out in history. These “heroes” are usually thinking about the good of others.
What is even more troubling about our hero expectation is the true source behind it. The “hero” expectation within me is sin. It is pride. I put myself in the place of the real Hero, the One who is made for unending Glory. Many of us need a “soul chiropractor” to pop our souls back into alignment so that we might have our self-focus be replaced with a focus on the True Eternal Hero who has infinite wisdom, knowledge, glory, kindness, justice, patience, purpose, grace, love, mercy, righteousness. Those are His shoes to fill, and He does it quite beautifully.
The reality that He has entrusted you in this time and space with certain gifts and skills to steward as part of His big story is humbling. Advent reminds us that Jesus rescues the non-heroes. What freedom to remember that we are not the author or the orchestrator. We are not the hero. So, today, let us remember the One who is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”
Further Reading: Hebrews 2
Reflection: Where do you need to shed your cape, or your aspirations of being the hero? How has Jesus rescued you?