Advent, 4th Sunday. If you have been praying through Advent, you have probably noticed two things: First, your life is a little better than when Advent started. Second, you still have a long way to go. As we start to make room for God in our lives, we start to realize how much we really need to give to God. Ahaz did not believe that God was really with him, but God gave him a sign anyway. Joseph was not ready for the baby Jesus, but he welcomed Mary anyway. Even though we are not worthy of Christ, we have to welcome God into the mess of our lives, and he will make us worthy of him. What did the stable have that homes, inns and palaces of Bethlehem did not have? It had space for Christ. Make space for God and he will do the rest. (19 Dec 2010)
Only God can Make us Ready for His Son
Are you ready? Christmas is less than a week away! Despite my advice to do less and buy less, you probably still have plenty of shopping, baking, planning, partying and internet-ordering-with-last-chance-rush-shipping left to do. Even Santa isn’t ready for Christmas yet. But ready or not, here it comes.
Have you made an effort to pray more this Advent? If so, you have probably noticed two things: First, life is a little better. Maybe you are more calm, or you took a positive step in relationships, or you have faced a fear that has haunted you for a long time. Second, you have probably also noticed that you have a long way left to go. You probably feel less ready than ever for the coming of Christ. As we become more aware of God we also become aware of how we have not given to God.
Some people are caught off-guard by holiday feelings of being lonely, unprepared, even depressed. But this is what Advent is all about. We have a longing for God, what Ron Rolheiser calls “The Holy Longing.” Advent makes us aware not only that we long for God, but also our inability to satisfy this longing by our hard work. Read the genealogy of Christ (Mat. 1). You will find some great people, some scoundrels, and some like King David who were a little of both (Jesus’ relatives include Bathsheba the adulteress and Rahab the harlot). Does this sound like our own family history? Our lives are full of good intentions but mixed results; our own efforts would never bring us the Savior we long for. So God steps in and unexpectedly makes a home for himself in the Virginal womb of Mary. You see, no amount of preparation will let us finally be able to finally sit back and say, “I’ve taken care of everything; Jesus can come now.” Advent is about discovering the humility to welcome him into the mess of our lives. When did we start thinking we had to fix it without him? Only God can fill our longing. Welcome the God you are not ready for and watch him satisfy our longings beyond our wildest dreams.
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