Sometimes, we need to set aside something really good to enjoy something better.
She lays down her interior design dreams to help him finish his degree. He stays home with the boys so she can pursue her calling. They don’t take a vacation for years to save up for an adopted child. They remain virgins until the wedding vows.
As Christians, there are certain times of the year that suggest we take inventory of our hearts and habits. Advent is one of those seasons: the wonder of the Incarnation shaking us to wake up and pay attention to something better.
Advent invites questions that should slow me down: What pleasant comforts are lulling me to sleep? What practices are acceptable, but not life-giving? Where am I blind? Deaf? Numb?
We’re not left to figure it all out on our own. Our Brother, who never asks us to do more than he was willing to do, temporarily left the wonder and shalom of the his own Father’s home for something better.
Why? Advent begs that question.
Why would God’s only and beloved son leave the fullness of heaven to grow up as one of many children in a low-income family? Why would the King of all kings leave his throne to become one of the harried, non-elite, working poor, all to die so ignobly?
Advent suggests that we look hard to answer those questions, and also hints that we skip to the end of the story.
The End: Jesus of Nazareth, born to an unmarried teenage girl, is going to rescue the world, and everything in it.
What the…? How? Why?
Because he made it all, and it all belongs to him. We belong to him.
The End: The Son obeyed his Heavenly Father, and things are not the same.
Because the Son considered it better to suffer and die out of love for his Father, we are marked as Christ’s own forever. Does this fill us with joy? Wonder? Confidence?
The End: We are not alone.
God’s own life-giving, death-conquering Spirit is alive and well on the earth and in the hearts of all who love him. He is actively moving before and through all things, creating light in the dark, beauty from ashes.
Let’s wake up now, and join him.
The End: The Bridegroom (Christ) will return for his bride (the Church).
“And he has on his robe and on his thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelations 19)
He is not far off. Can you hear him? He is Faithful and True, the Head of every man.
How will he find us when he comes?
Peace to you, as you joyfully wait for the Bridegroom, your Savior.
PS. This Advent season, I am setting aside my on-line writing to make a little more room…see you in January.