Readings: Isaiah 52:7-10; Hebrews 1:1-6; John 1:1-18
When I listen to today’s readings, I’m puzzled. I’ll admit, when I filter what I hear through the gauze of devotional attention, I can neatly pigeon-hole the doctrinal themes I was taught to appreciate. But when I listen to recognize experience–let’s say against the background of the week’s headlines–I’m challenged.
It would be much easier for me to put these readings and this hour of worship into some compartment, hermetically sealed from everyday life, and let it become an escape from the harsh and uncontrollable aspects of human life. In such a “sacred space”, I could ignore the violence, the bigotry, the frustrated anger and the resentments that infect the world we know.
Unfortunately, in such a refuge, I’d also escape my own violence, bigotry, frustrated anger and resentments and would probably sit in judgment of everyone else!
But today’s readings tell me that God is not only paying attention but has intervened and will intervene in some definitive way within my grasp. How I face and how I respond to the crushing limitations and evils about me is crucial. Most challenging of all, those evils and limitations are not the sum of the environment I live in, though they magnify my insecurities. If they are all I see, will I ever recognize, ever accept that living Word made flesh that comes from God yet takes on our experience?
We’ve been challenged this way for the past four weeks. If Advent is a celebration of waiting, shouldn’t we be cashing in on something else now?
Or is this, today, what we still need to learn?
Slowing down, pausing to reflect, approaching slowly–isn’t that the path of reverence? Isn’t that the prelude to mystery? Isn’t that how God has spoken to us through the Son in these last days? Not with fluorescent and analytic glare but in the muted, approachable light of reverence and mystery.
Mary pondered the events of Bethlehem in her heart, which means their meaning wasn’t clear to her. Yet for nine months she encompassed that eternal reality in her little body. Today are we offered anything less?