From Season of Promises
Every one of us forms an idea of Christ that is limited and incomplete. It is cut according to our own measure. We tend to create for ourselves a Christ in our own image, a projection of our own aspirations, desires, and ideals. We find in him what we want to find. We make him not only the incarnation of God but also the incarnation of the things we and our society and our part of society happen to live for.
(Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation)
Who is the Jesus you look forward to during Advent? What does he look like? Your description reveals more than you think. If you describe Jesus one way, remember that your description does not rule out other acceptable descriptions. Does your Jesus have the skin color and features characteristic of people who live today in the part of the world where Jesus lived nearly 2,000 years ago? Or do you carry in your head an image of Jesus from an artistic portrayal? The possibilities are almost endless.
During Advent, do you look forward to Baby Jesus, meek and mild? Or do you probe the gospel accounts of Jesus’s birth, prodding them to give up their teachings about the character of a faith for adult believers who live in the real world? During Advent, do you ask why the stories include shepherds, and an inn with no rooms available, and magi, and all the rest? Are these simply charming elements of the charming stories about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem? Or is there more?
What does the Christ you hope for during Advent stand for? What ideals does he represent? Is he a Christ who offers comfort only, or does he challenge you as well? Does he come at Christmas leaving behind only the status quo? Or does he leave you unsettled, vulnerable, out in the open?
Lord Jesus, during Advent help me to deepen my idea of who you are and what you stand for. Amen.