While Considering One, We Prepare for Another
of really enriching our Advent journey is to keep in mind the three comings
of Jesus, and how they relate to one another.
Jesus was born into our history - at a fixed
point in time in the past. Jesus comes to us now, in a whole
variety of ways. Jesus promised that he will come again in glory,
at the end of time.
Incarnation: Jesus has come
not the coming we await. The first coming of Jesus has already happened.
Our preparation to celebrate his birth is the occasion for our deeper reflection.
On the first level, it is so important that we really let ourselves experience
the power of the Incarnation: God is with us. That God became
one of us means that "human" is one of the ways God can be. The deeper
we contemplate this mystery the more we enter into the grace of "God with
us." The more we let ourselves be touched by this mystery, the more
we see the connection between Christmas and Easter: all of this is "for
me" - for my salvation - to free me from the power of sin and death.
Life Now: Jesus comes to me
open our hearts and our mouths and plead, "Come, O Lord," we are most directly
experiencing our desire for the Lord to come to us and touch us with the grace
of salvation - that we might live it with greater freedom and peace.
Jesus is present whenever we need him to be present: actually, whenever
we turn to him - even with empty hands. Jesus is alive and active in
us when we read God's Word and let it into our hearts. Jesus promised to
be present with us whenever two or three are gathered together in his name.
And, we know Jesus comes to us whenever our sacrifices and our sufferings
unite us with his own mission. Advent is a special time to experience our
longing for the presence of Jesus with us now - in all the places we need
Future: Jesus comes again, in glory
One of the
most transforming graces of Advent is given us as our longing deepens.
The more grateful we become for how God saved us in Jesus, the more deeply
we enter into the mystery of how Jesus is with us now. The closer we
come to experiencing joy at how our Lord, Jesus Christ came into our world,
faithful to God and faithful to our life journey in the flesh, the closer
we come to experiencing the mystery of salvation in our everyday lives.
And, as our longing is filled with the utter fullness of God's gift to us,
we begin to long with the ultimate freedom: we long to be with him
in God. We live more at home in this world because our God made a home
in this world. But the whole story draws us to a complete picture of
who we are and where we belong. Then our prayer begins to change, in
our hearts and on our lips. We still are singing, "Come, Lord, Jesus!"
but our song is transformed into the free and complete song of the lover:
"Come, and take me with you."
Now we watch for the day,
hoping that the salvation
promised us will be ours
when Christ will come again
in his glory.
- From Preface 1 of Advent