“Come, Lord Jesus,” the Advent mantra, means that all of Christian history has to live out of a kind of deliberate emptiness, a kind of chosen non-fulfilment. Perfect fullness is always to come, and we do not need to demand it now. This keeps the field of life wide open and especially open to grace and to a future created by God rather than us. This is what it means to be “awake,” as the gospel urges us (Matthew 24:42)!
We can also use other a words for Advent: aware, alive, attentive, alert, awake are all appropriate! Advent is above all else, a call to full consciousness and a forewarning about the high price of consciousness…
“Come, Lord Jesus” is a leap into the kind of freedom and surrender that is rightly called the virtue of hope. The theological virtue of hope is the patient and trustful willingness to live without closure, without resolution, and still be content and even happy because our Satisfaction is now at another level, and our Source is beyond ourselves.
We are able to trust that the Lord will come again, just as Jesus has come into our past, into our private dilemmas and into our suffering world. Our Christian past then becomes our Christian prologue, and “Come, Lord Jesus” is not a cry of desperation but an assured shout of cosmic hope!
Richard Rohr, adapted from Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr, pp. 4-5
This kind of Advent life is the only thing that makes any sense of my own Christian living. My heart is so continually torn by all that is broken in this world, by the death of friends—including my little cat Ruby—and the death of strangers, by the suffering of strangers, by all those to whom Advent means nothing, holds no promise, that I can never truly be content, full, at rest, until the Lord Jesus comes. And yet, somehow, somewhere, even that is all right. He is coming—he has promised. Our calling is simply to pray…
I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart;
before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
When I called, you answered me;
you made me bold and stout-hearted.
May all the kings of the earth praise you, O LORD,
when they hear the words of your mouth.
May they sing of the ways of the LORD,
for the glory of the LORD is great.
Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly,
but the proud he knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes,
with your right hand you save me.
The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.
Our hope is only in him…