From Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shined in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light, which lighted every man that comes into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
It comes to pass. The Word of God is delivered to the world. The promise God offers, the promise Mary carries, the light that dispels darkness is born in Jesus Christ. We will never be able to understand fully the implications of the incarnate Christ. Elements of unsolvable mystery will always surround what it means for God to become human. Though we cannot fully grasp the miracle of Jesus’s birth, we can be eternally affirmed in the steadfastness and faithfulness of God.
Jesus’s birth changes everything. Not only are holy promises fulfilled, but all of our futures are not subject to new beginnings and new endings. Life is most fully lived within the light that Jesus brings into the world. What can that mean for us from this day forward? We have journeyed with Zechariah through doubt and silence. We have journeyed with Elizabeth through barrenness and wonder. We have journeyed with Mary through blind faith and acceptance. How can we now journey with Christ in the midst of our assorted longings, misgivings, and worries? Jesus’s birth invites us to lay down our concerns for a moment and kneel with awe and thanksgiving at the faithfulness and love of God. The longer we gaze upon Jesus, the more we realize that life as we know it can no longer remain the same. The wait for Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary is over, but their trust in God is just beginning.
Part of the wonder of this season is that God chooses to bring about the mystery of Jesus’s birth with human help. We see God’s work woven into the intercession of Zechariah, the courage of Elizabeth, the obedience and faith of Mary, the humility of Joseph, and the discipline and devotion of John the Baptist. Through Jesus, the Word of God, all things come into being, but we still have a role to play in the fulfillment of God’s promises to an aching world. Like Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary, we have to listen for God’s invitations into this ongoing holy drama. Our adoration of the Christ child must lead to obedience and devotion. Only then can we open our lives to God’s continual life-giving disruptions.
Holy Infant, Savior, Eternal Word of God, may our adoration and praise converge in obedience and devotion. May we find our lives bound up in you. May we have courage and the wisdom to drop our burdens long enough to bear you in our arms. Amen.