“Put the desires of your heart in order, O human beings!” as the old song sings….
God wants us to always be with us, wherever we may be — in our sin, in our suffering and death.
We are no longer alone; God is with us.
We are no longer homeless; a bit of the eternal home has moved into us.
Therefore we adults can rejoice deeply within our hearts under the Christmas tree, perhaps more than children are able….
We know that God’s goodness will once again draw near. We think of all of God’s goodness that came our way last year and sense something of the marvelous home. Jesus comes… “Behold I stand at the door …. Open wide the gates.” (Ps. 24:7). One day, at the last judgement, he will separate the sheep and the goats and will say to those on his right: “Come, you blessed… I was hungry and you fed me…. ” (Mt 25:34)
To the astonished question of when and where, he answered, “What you did to the least of these, you have done to me….” (Mt 25:40). With that we are faced with the shocking reality: Jesus stands at the door and knocks, in complete reality. He asks you for help in the form of a beggar, in the form of a ruined human being in torn clothing.
He confronts you in every person you meet.
Christ walks on the earth as your neighbor as long as there are people.
He walks on the earth as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you and makes His demands. That is the great seriousness and the great blessedness of the Advent message.
Christ stands at the door.
He lives in the form of the person in our midst.
Will you keep the door locked or open it to him?
Christ is still knocking.
It is not yet Christmas.
But it is also not the great final Advent, the final coming of Christ. Through all the Advents of our life that we celebrate goes the longing for the final Advent, where it says, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Rev. 21:15).
Advent is a time of waiting. Our whole life, however, is Advent….
That is, a time of waiting for the ultimate, for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth.
When all people are brothers and sisters.
And one rejoices in the words of the angels:‘On earth, peace…' "
How often do I forget that Christ, He does indeed walk on the Earth as my neighbor. That He confronts me in every person I meet. The man with a sign outside of Costco, the people wrapped in too thin sleeping bags under the overpass. The woman confined to her home because she can barely move anymore. The girl with scars all over her arms and legs from trying to let the pain escape, the boy with teeth yellow from nicotine. These people, they don't have it all together. And yet Christ said,
Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,you did it to me.'
For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. (Matthew 25: 34-40, 42-45)
The people he mentions are the ones so full of pain, so broken. They are where He confronts us, face to face.
"What are you going to do? Because ignorance is no longer an option."
It isn't. Waiting, then, for it all to become new. But fighting, to help this broken world. That is what we are here for. That is what Christ, 2,000 years ago was here for. We are no longer alone in this fight. The tiny baby ensured that. So we fight all the harder.