I don't re-watch many movies or TV shows. Having seen something once, I am normally satisfied with the experience. I won't protest re-watching something with family or friends, but I am less inclined to do it on my own.
A good story line has you holding your breath even when you know the conclusion. Too many TV shows and movies are made with frill factor. They have the spectacular scenes at the start, middle, and end to make up for poor storytelling. This just does not work for me. I'll watch it once. I might even recommend it. But I will not re-watch.
I was reminded of this fact as I re-watched the first episode of the eighth season of Dr. Who entitled "Deep Breath." Unlike the above mentioned cinematic crap, this episode is memorable and excellent for all the right reasons. Two sets of tension pull throughout the episode. Toward the end, I caught myself holding my breath during the climax of both storylines! Even though I watched the episode last year with my wife, I was so in the story that it washed over me afresh.
Even when the story is good there is a temptation to skip to the final curtain because of familiarity. We skip or ignore the development of the story rushing ourselves to the resolution. I am persuaded that many do this with the Bible (I could make an argument that we do this exegetically, but I will leave that for another time). So let me offer a qualification to clarify what I am saying — It is said that the Western church built its theology around the atonement (the work of God by Christ) while the Eastern church built upon the Trinity (the person of God in Christ).
If I was forced to select only one emphasis I would chose the later. Thankfully, these two views do not demand our exclusive attention. Still, Western Christians have largely ignored a Christo-centric Redemptive History in favor of a Redemptive-Historical roadmap to the didactic "justification by faith alone." There is no problem with appreciating and glorifying "justification by faith alone;" but overemphasis can ruin the reality that Scripture is a history in which God participates. In saying God does one thing well, we can overlook all the other things He has done. Though simplistic, it is incredible that God interacts with man. We almost take it for granted. The narrative's anticipation of the incarnation should have us holding our breath.
Why do I say this? In principal because the prophetic books are filled with poetic yearning for Israel's Messiah. In the NT, the Gospel of Luke provides us with a backdrop of anticipation and exhilaration at the birth of Jesus Christ. Mary sings (Luke 1:46-55). Zacharias sings (Luke 1:67-79). Simeon and Anna are depicted as pining for the people's redemption (Luke 2:21-38). Allegorically, Israel had been holding its collective breath. Luke spends a significant amount of time letting us hear the audible gasp for air. Israel was holding its breath for a messiah. Having seen the end, we know that messiah will be Divine. The individuals waiting patiently did not. The anticipation was great. And the divine reveal was slow. There is a sense in which the anticipation should be greater for us who have the full revelation. It is truly beautiful watching the Incarnation announced and carried out in the man Jesus Christ.
Many of us, however, struggle to share this anticipation. In a reductionistic manner consistent especially with Protestantism, salvation is procured at Easter, not Christmas. There does not need to be a battle between these events. But viewed principally as a story, the Incarnation is the staggering and jaw-dropping of the two events. By the time the crucifixion occurs, we are rooting for our Savior. But before the Incarnation we are not aware the Eternal Son will become man. We are aware of our need for a Savior but unsure how God will accomplish the task. There is a Divine mystery. A mystery that drops into time and space to be born in Bethlehem. It is easy and convenient when reading the Scriptures to jump to the atonement — the culmination of God's wrath upon sin which leads to New Creation. But perhaps it would serve us well to read our Bibles as the story it is.
We should read the Old Testament with a deep breath and anticipate the messiah. When the Incarnation occurs, we must allow ourselves to be blown away by the incredulity of the story.