The Three Comings of Jesus
While Considering One, We Prepare for Another
One way of really enriching our Advent journey is to keep in mind the three comings of Jesus, and how they relate to one another.
Jesus was born into our history - at a fixed point in time in the past. Jesus comes to us now, in a whole variety of ways. Jesus promised that he will come again in glory, at the end of time.
The Incarnation: Jesus has come.
This is not the coming we await. The first coming of Jesus has already happened. Our preparation to celebrate his birth is the occasion for our deeper reflection. On the first level, it is so important that we really let ourselves experience the power of the Incarnation: God is with us. That God became one of us means that "human" is one of the ways God can be. The deeper we contemplate this mystery the more we enter into the grace of "God with us." The more we let ourselves be touched by this mystery, the more we see the connection between Christmas and Easter: all of this is "for me" - for my salvation - to free me from the power of sin and death.
My Life Now: Jesus comes to me.
When we open our hearts and our mouths and plead, "Come, O Lord," we are most directly experiencing our desire for the Lord to come to us and touch us with the grace of salvation - that we might live it with greater freedom and peace. Jesus is present whenever we need him to be present: actually, whenever we turn to him - even with empty hands. Jesus is alive and active in us when we read God's Word and let it into our hearts. Jesus promised to be present with us whenever two or three are gathered together in his name. And, we know Jesus comes to us whenever our sacrifices and our sufferings unite us with his own mission. Advent is a special time to experience our longing for the presence of Jesus with us now - in all the places we need him most.
Our Future: Jesus comes again, in glory.
One of the most transforming graces of Advent is given us as our longing deepens. The more grateful we become for how God saved us in Jesus, the more deeply we enter into the mystery of how Jesus is with us now. The closer we come to experiencing joy at how our Lord, Jesus Christ came into our world, faithful to God and faithful to our life journey in the flesh, the closer we come to experiencing the mystery of salvation in our everyday lives. And, as our longing is filled with the utter fullness of God's gift to us, we begin to long with the ultimate freedom: we long to be with him in God. We live more at home in this world because our God made a home in this world. But the whole story draws us to a complete picture of who we are and where we belong. Then our prayer begins to change, in our hearts and on our lips. We still are singing, "Come, Lord, Jesus!" but our song is transformed into the free and complete song of the lover: "Come, and take me with you."
Bible reading for December
Isaiah 9. 2-7
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.