Advent leads up to a birthday. At Christmas we celebrate him who said he came to free the oppressed and the imprisoned, to heal suffering hearts, and to stand by the forgotten: Jesus Christ. He showed us that God is not somewhere far off, but close to us, like a person who has come to visit us. Like a brother who lives and suffers with us. Like someone who loves us.
This someone is coming toward us – and toward you too. He will walk with you, no matter how difficult your path, no matter how dark or long. He will show you your destination – a great, beautiful one. And when you reach it, you will be able to say: now all is well; everything had its reason.
Remember this, even when everyone around you says that things are only getting worse; that the catastrophes coming toward us cannot be avoided. To this you can reply: No, they are not the final reality. Luckily, we have a future before us that cannot be manipulated and is not dependent on human folly.
For us, every new day is a door through which we can go, expectant, confident, and patient. For us, the future will be brighter than anything we could ever imagine. The God we have come to know through Jesus Christ is coming to meet us, and our path toward him leads into the light.
The question is: Are we willing to walk this path? We need to understand, we modern human beings, that it is not our goals and successes that are important, but the way itself, and how we travel it. That the way itself is life.
This path has a beauty which grows over time. Its source is love’s strength, though it also comes with the wisdom we gain along the way, and through the sacrifices we are willing to make.
As we walk it, we will come to understand that God isn’t hiding on the other side of the world, or hovering somewhere above the stars, but that he is coming toward us step by step. We will come to realize that we are, in fact, in God’s arms, and that he is in us; that we need only submerge ourselves in his nearness – to emerge from our absent-mindedness and distractedness, pull ourselves together, and entrust ourselves to him. To lay ourselves down in him as in a great hand. We will come to see that all is well.
All this we can contemplate during the four weeks of Advent, as we enter the silence without which it cannot take place. Because all this is the only really important thing in our lives; the only thing that really matters.
Translated from Jörg Zink, Türen zum Fest. Verlag am Eschbach, 2010. Used with permission.
Stained glass images by Valentin Feuerstein, 1917-1999. Copyright 2010 Verlag am Eschbach. Used with permission.