From Season of Promises
If we are not humble, we tend to demand that faith must also bring with it good health, peace of mind, good luck, success in business, popularity, world peace, and every other good thing we can imagine. And it is true that God can give us all these good things if he wants to. But they are of no importance compared with faith, which is essential. If we insist on other things as the price of our believing, we tend by that very fact to undermine our own belief. I do not think it would be an act of mercy on God’s part simply to let us get away with this!
(Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation)
The messages and meanings of Advent are many. Advent, oh Advent, what do you have to say to us? Come. Hold our hand and tell us what you have to say. Advent puts an arm around our shoulder. Advent confides in us: See. My messages are many but they are simple. Listen. God’s love comes with no strings attached. No strings. No red tape. No bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo. Strings, tape, mumbo-jumbo, all these echo sinfulness and of these God knows nothing. Nothing.
God’s love comes with no strings attached, Advent says again. Where the strings come from, the red tape, the mumbo-jumbo, is from your side of the relationship, your side of the faith relationship you have with God. God offers everything and asks for everything in return, but you say maybe this, or if that. Then I will give everything in return. Good health, more than enough money and material comfort, good luck, peace of mind – give me all these and then I will believe, then I will give everything in return.
Advent speaks: My message, year after year, time after time, is that God gives everything, no strings attached, even if you do not respond by giving everything in return. God still gives everything, and that’s the message of Christmas Day.
Lord Jesus, help me to put no conditions on my love for you and my love for those I live and work with. Amen.