December 12, 2019
Are you the one for whom we are waiting, or should we wait for another?
While imprisoned by Herod, John the Baptist asked this question of Jesus, via his messengers.
There are times in our lives where the joys of Christmas, real and imagined, don’t correspond to the reality of our lives as Christians. Maybe we imagined we would be in sweet communion with the Lord of Love. Or we imagined that wisdom from on high would rescue us from the intractable problems presented to us by family and friends. Maybe we thought we would banish loneliness and neurotic suffering, by joining the church.
And so from our individual prisons, we send messengers to ask Jesus, ‘Are you the one or should we wait for our journey towards another?’
And the answer comes back to us, that even though we may be suffering from disillusionment, that there are many being healed and changed into the image of God as we speak.
In these days leading up to Christmas, in the shadow of Christmas trees and decorations, lie all sorts of feelings of loneliness and isolation. Many of us imagined a Christianity that would somehow come down and straighten out the world, both externally and internally. We thought, like John, that there would be vast and radical changes that would sweep us heavenward.
But the truth is, that this grace that we imagined coming from on high is actually manifest in the small human acts of compassion, hospitality and justice that take place between people in the common life we all share. Certainly, there is someone in your phone directory who could benefit from a phone call. Surely, there is a cause that you can support with a small gift of your time or money that would help reverse the flow of your thoughts and feelings.
When Jesus’ disciples asked for positions of power in his kingdom, Jesus disabused them of these kinds of self-serving ideas, by telling them they should look around themselves for opportunities to serve others.
According to Jesus, the least in this kingdom of serving others is greater than all who are involved in serving themselves and those expecting God to destroy their enemies.
This Christmas, see if you can’t find ways to be God’s agent of unconditional love to those you know and those you don’t know.