“You heavens above, rain down my righteousness;
let the clouds shower it down.
Let the earth open wide,
let salvation spring up,
let righteousness flourish with it;
I, the Lord, have created it.
- Isaiah 45:8
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
- Haggai 2:6-9
“During this season of Advent, dear God, I wish to withdraw from external and earthly affairs, so that I may silently worship the mysteries of your Son and await His birth in the inner recesses of my heart. Come, Lord Jesus. Come, Spirit of truth and love, who formed in in the womb of the Holy Virgin.
”I am waiting for you, dear Jesus, as the prophets and patriarchs waited for you. I eagerly say with them, ‘Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may spring up.’ You came once already. The righteous of ancient times saw the Desire of all nations, yet the world did not know him. ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.’ Why are you waiting to come? Return, Lord. Return to strike the thoughtless world and judge those who do not see.”
- François Fénelon, God of my Heart
Advent is a time of waiting, but not a time of waiting for a jolly old elf to slide down the chimney.
My apologies to Ricky Bobby, but we aren’t waiting for the Baby Jesus. For those who have not seen Talladega Nights, The Ballad of Ricky Bobby with Will Ferrell, save your time and money. You have missed getting your intelligence insulted, dragged through the mud, stomped on repeatedly, etc. But Ricky Bobby, Will Ferrell’s character, prays to the Baby Jesus, ‘cause that’s the one he likes best. Why in a movie full of low-brow, crude, rude, and mind-numbing humor, do I only remember the ‘praying grace at the dinner table’ scene? The clip is available, but I will not provide a link. Yet, it does show how a large portion of the people calling themselves Christians picture God. The only one that seems to be semi-reverent is the wife, but her motives are that she wants a proper grace to be said so that her husband will win the car race the next day. Now, back to the topic.
No, Advent is a season where we should prepare for the return of the full-grown Jesus, in His kingly glory, and leading His Army.
Note the prayer of François Fénelon. He wants to silently worship the mysteries of Jesus. During the loud, angry hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, can you find a single moment of silence? And on Christmas Eve, the church is packed so full of CEOs (Christmas Easter Only) that you end up standing in the back, or even in the hallway outside the sanctuary altogether, feeling less than worshipful. Okay, you might be praying for the fire marshal to not come by, because you have exceeded the occupancy limit in a sanctuary that is half empty, at best, any other time of the year, except maybe Easter, when it is almost full.
Note that Fénelon mentions ‘birth’, but in the context of a birth of a new, deeper, more meaningful understanding of Jesus in our hearts.
But while Christmas is only a commercial enterprise for many, and a reason to show up to church once out of the entire year of Sundays for others, the Advent season is a time for some to find that silent corner, like my basement ‘office,’ to worship the God who loves me so much that He sent His Son. And I echo the words of François Fénelon, “Why are you waiting to come? Return, Lord.”
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.