advent: the descent

[another re-post, this from 2009 i think]

“Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down!” (Is. 64:1). Too often Christians understand the virtues of joy, hope, and contentment to mean that we must accept with a smile whatever lot we are given. To grin and bear it. To be happy.  But here we read the groan of real prayer. The cry that things here are painful. That our hearts are breaking. That we (even those of us with loving families and good friends, to say nothing of those without those blessings) are lonely. As we long for things to be whole (wars to end and people to have homes and for addictions to stop and sicknesses to be healed) the terrible truth hits us: we can’t make it right. we can’t even be very eloquent. we just have to say, “God, come down here!”

And this is, of course, what he did in being born in Jesus Christ. Jesus’ whole life was really a continuation and deepening of the descent. He just leaned further and further into the broken spaces of creation. Into the alienation and the loneliness. Into the farthest, most godforsaken places.  He took all of it into his flesh and was broken by it. And now he holds all of it for us.  It’s not our job to hold the pieces together, to feel all the pain of the world.  But we can still be impatient for him to come, and so we pray.

Prayer: O Lord, tear open the skies and come down again. Pierce us with the wound of earnest longing for you. Give us courage to turn away from our comfortable distractions and to turn towards you, even if it seems as though we are just turning towards emptiness. Let us be like Simeon, waiting in the temple. waiting to feel the real presence of your body. Come to us in a real way as we wait for you. Let the Eucharist be sweeter than ever before as we anticipate you. Amen.


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