A Gesture “fail” and a Gesture succeeding: Celebrating Advent
The compassion of Jesus the Christ is worth noting. If God becomes human, walks the earth in a way that is somehow human and divine, if God knows humanity wants a little something for the effort, a little reminder that we are not alone, if God makes this gesture, then what do we know of God? My atheist and agnostic friends debate me on this, I tell them it’s hard to grasp, this incarnation. Maybe we feel like the distressed father who cries out, “I believe, help my unbelief!”2 Or, like the wave of emotion a mother feels when her slippery newborn is plunked on her chest and she gets a good look at him, or when an adopted child is held for the first time and cuddled up close? The magnitude of the gift, of the child, is not yet realized, how could it be? It takes years, and minutes and hours and days. It takes the living with Someone, to realize the fullness of who they are, like living with God, day in and day out, seeing the fullness of who God is and who God will be.
I do believe that when Someone comes to be with you, where you are, it matters. If someone comes to sit vigil with you while a beloved is ill, it matters. If someone is joyous with you at a happy time in your life, it matters. God does this. At Advent, this is what we commemorate. Advent is God’s gesture to us, which is cause for celebration and merry-making, and everyone’s invited to the party. And, Christians don’t get to be bouncers at the door, checking people’s invitations, deciding which invitations are legit.