At this point in the middle of our Advent journey, we can pause to enjoy what this week is about. Each day, we can be asking for the grace to let Jesus into our hearts – to let him be closer to us and to let ourselves be closer to him.
The promise made to Joseph was that the result of his openness to cooperating with God’s plan would be: “God is with us.” Joseph couldn’t have imagined what that would mean. At times, we can’t imagine what that means for us, today.
Jeremiah knew the problem. King David’s line had been virtually wiped out. But Jeremiah trusted God’s fidelity. With the same image of a shoot coming forth, Isaiah could proclaim that “a shoot will sprout from the stump of Jesse (David’s father).”
This is good news for us today, whenever we see only darkness, and can’t imagine a light shining for us to guide the way. At times, we see only dead ends. We sometimes are so discouraged by the stresses and challenges we are facing that it is difficult to even think about promises of hope. We can feel trapped – stuck in a situation that fills us with fear, or anger, or which has simply suffocated any ability to dream.
Today, we can pause to remember that “God is with us.” We are not alone. And, in this pause, we can ask for the grace to let Jesus into our hearts – to let him in, past the barriers. What are the barriers? A pause today could help us identify them.
This is what Advent is for. It is an opportunity to open our hearts to Jesus’ coming today, in the midst of our darkness. This is not something abstract or intellectual. It is personal. If I let him love me, forgive me, tell me I’m precious, that I’m not alone, then I can face any challenge with hope. This is what real joy is all about. And, even when our union with Jesus leads us to the Cross, we are with him on the path to eternal life.
Let us all pray, “Come, Lord Jesus,” with deeper, more personal meaning today, and each day in the days ahead. And, let us let him come into those places of our lives where he so wants to come with tenderness, comfort, healing and life.
(Adapted from Andy Alexander, SJ)