Since we’re now going on the fourth Sunday of Advent, and since I’m finally done with school and can focus on things like the coming of Jesus to the earth, here are a few Adventish reflections (not to be confused with plain, old, Entish reflections, which generally involve talking trees and still waters).
But first, a caveat. I say nothing new here (I hope!). What I do say here has hit me, in some ways, for the first time, or at least harder than it has before.
What a gift Jesus was! And what a great story! And what a way to make all the pieces of the puzzle fit together and come out butterfly-beautiful and not squashed-caterpillar-mush! Every baby is a gift. Anyone who has held one and reflected even a bit on it knows that. But imagine holding the Christ-child (ok, I like Ignatius, I admit it). Imagine being Mary and having him squirming and sleeping and dreaming and waking and blinking in your arms. Imagine knowing that he is special, that he is the One (move over, Neo!), that he will do untold, unimaginable things.
And then the story…as Christians, we’re different from the Greeks and Romans in that our God didn’t come to earth to ravish a maiden. He didn’t even come as some hot guy with washboard abs to make the girls ooh and ahh. Instead, he came as a helpless baby. In that, he really shared our experience, more than any other god in any other story. Sure, mythology contains myriads of stories of gods coming to earth. Some of them even came benevolently. But ours? He came as a tiny, perfect, squalling babe, and had to grow and change and have his voice crack and have his friends hurt him and be loved imperfectly. He came and knew the full experience of being human.
And then, the puzzle pieces. Without Jesus, the Old Testament really does read like the ravings of some lunatic rabbi who wanted to justify his religion. Without the fulfillment, without the love and the ending of the Law and the explaining why the Law was there and the offering of salvation to the Jews and to all men, the story is haphazard, half-assed, bizarre. With Jesus, with his birth, death, resurrection, and everything else in between, the story makes sense. That, maybe more than anything else, is why I believe in the eventual return of Christ and the resurrection of the dead, and heaven and all that–because without it, the story is still incomplete. If God came once to make the story make sense, then its only coherent that he will come again, to add an ending to his beginning and middle. And so I believe, because it makes sense and, because of that sense, I believe in more sense in the future.