The Word of God is always surprising. Today, I have been touched by the image that is at the heart of the Advent season: “when the messiah will come, the Lord will give His people strength and He will let them rest.”
The coming of the Lord creates two things in us today: strength and rest.
Jesus always comes in a particular, historical situation. He comes in my own “Bethlehem,” in my own struggles, in my own weariness. And His coming makes a difference: everything is changed; hope is restored and I get a new chance in life.
For Him to come, however, I have to acknowledge first of all that He’s not my peer. Isaiah makes it clear: the One who is coming is the Lord of the universe, the creator of heaven and earth. How quickly I can reduce the Lord to something or someone warm and fuzzy, completely lost in the sounds and lights of the season.
When I say, “Come, Lord Jesus,” am I aware that I am asking the Lord of Creation to come into my heart? Am I humbled about this coming?
He comes. He comes to change me from within. He is not coming to change my situations or to do my job. He comes to renew me so that whatever I do will be done in a new way. That’s how God operates. At times I crash in this mentality: “I have asked God to do something for me, He didn’t do it. Then, God either doesn’t care or doesn’t exist.” I recognize this because I was one of these disappointed Christians. It’s a very popular way of thinking and today’s Word wants to destroy this false sense of religiosity.
Advent teaches us that God does not change others or the situation so that we can be happy. He changes us by giving us a new hope, a new heart, a new way of looking at things.
It’s an invitation: Come. How interesting that during the season when we sing “O come, o come Immanuel…” it is He who tells us “Come to me.” It’s a true Advent, then; two hearts, who long for each other, invite each other to a closer relationship.
It’s a double invitation: not only I am asked to celebrate Advent but today I am invited to become Advent as well. , He is asking me, each one of us, to come to Him.”
How? How can I respond to His invitation? How can I invite Him closer to me?
Today I remembered the power of saying ‘Yes’ to God’s will. It’s the day when a young girl, in 1943, felt that God was asking her to “give herself totally to HIm.” She said Yes, without knowing what would happen. But, as she said later, “she had married God, and she was expecting from Him everything.” She became one of the most influential person in the today’s Church and society. Chiara Lubich, with the Yes she uttered on this day 68 years ago, allowed God to renew her and renew the Church and the World, gifting us with the Charism of Unity. Today, the Focolare Movement (also known as “The Work of Mary”) celebrates its existence.
This is how this Advent becomes real life: by saying YES to His Will, to His Word, to His “reality.”
“Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will.” It’s a conscious act. It’s a humble word, it’s the beginning of a new adventure.
I want to say ‘yes’ by going into my heart and allow myself to feel what I long to feel. There is something in me that, in spite of weariness and weaknesses, pushes me to move forward because I know there is something “more” in life: desire of new life, desire of love, desire of eternity. By touching these inner desires, I can ask Him to come and renew them so that I can find new strength and new rest.
It is by welcoming Him into my “true” life that I can really begin to prepare the way of the Lord, the One who comes in power, the One who created the whole universe. The one I can call Lord.