I watched the sun rise through the plane window, pervading the horizon with its orange glow. Below, toy houses and cars and roads and trees and boats and all manner of human constructs busied themselves getting themselves where they needed to go. As we dipped below the clouds I stared, fascinated, at the humdrum of lights and activity. It was so easy to look down and forget that in every house and car and building, hungry human hearts were beating and longing and crying out for deep fulfillment. From where I sat it was easy to watch with nothing more than fascination and amusement.
The sun continued to rise and the clouds stretched themselves across the horizon. I imagined the mind of God looking down at each one of us. How easy it would be for him to disregard all human pain and suffering. God would not have to feel any pain if entire civilizations were wiped out by war or famine. Yet, in this time of Advent, I reflected on the nature of the Incarnation and it pierced my heart.
Christ wants to be with you.
Love wants to be with you.
Truth wants to be with you.
Hope wants to be with you.
What does that say about you, that the force who created the sunrise is eternally thinking of you, every moment?
It means that you don’t have to hook up or move in with that boyfriend or girlfriend so that he or she will stay with you. Maybe he’ll leave, but he never defined you in the first place. It means you don’t have to do what “everyone else” is doing, dress immodestly for attention, constantly craft your next social media post hoping it’ll get you lots of attention and an accompanying endorphin boost, or overwork yourself or over-exercise to prove you’re the best. It means you’re free to change your sinful habits, heal yourself from your past, and look forward with real, abiding hope to the future.
You are loved, no matter what. Do you know that?
I heard a disturbing fact yesterday. The life expectancy in the US is falling for the second year in a row because of rising drug overdoses and suicide. There is something wrong with the way our society teaches us to see ourselves when the suicide and OD rates are affecting us at the level of an epidemic.
The antidote to these horrifying statistics is the individual’s realization and acceptance of the truth of who we are. We are God’s children. So often I think we fail to realize how great a claim that is. We are Love’s children, eternally loved and wanted. We are called to the fulfillment of our deepest desires.
St. Paul urges all followers of Christ to “behave in a manner worthy of the calling you have received.” I’ve been reflecting on that as I gaze at the wind-whipped rivulets running through the cloudscape. Discernment of our personal callings, and acting upon that discernment, is predicated by the realization of our fundamental belonging. The Incarnation affirms and proclaims this Truth by the longing of God to be with us. With us, yes- despite every single failing and sin and wound.
This Advent, I pray that you will realize your identity as a child of God in a new way. God looks down and longs to enter into the deepest recesses of our hearts. C.S. Lewis writes, “We must remember that the soul is but a hollow which God fills. Its union with God is, almost by definition, a continual self-abandonment- an opening, an unveiling, a surrender of itself. A blessed spirit is a mould ever more and more patient of the bright metal poured into it, a body ever more completely uncovered to the meridian blaze of the spiritual sun…For in self-giving, if anywhere, we touch a rhythm not only of all creation but of all being. For the Eternal Word also gives himself in sacrifice; and that not only on Calvary. For when he was crucified he ‘did that in the wild weather of his outlying provinces that which he had done at home in glory and gladness.’”
Sending you so much Advent love, and hope in him who is here to abide with us forever.