Let's imagine you are one of those chosen by God to go and be the first to meet His Son. For years people have talked about the coming of the Messiah. Great things have been said regarding the Savior of the World. It was prophesied that He would bring about peace, healing, and salvation to all of Israel. These are some big promises!! I don't know about you but I would start to imagine that this Son of God was going to be set on high in some far off palace and rule over all with mighty armies, and give grand speeches, and be served by maids and numerous poor servants.
So, with expectations set high you embark on the journey to Bethlehem to meet God's Son. The fact that He can be found in Bethlehem makes you wonder a little bit, but nevertheless you continue on your way. You show up, with your expensive and large gift wrapped in gold and shiny paper, to find a man, a woman, a bunch of animals, a smelly barn, and a baby in a manger. "Are you kidding me? God, where is your almighty Son? Where are the riches, the power, the signs of kingship? Am I in the right place? I thought you came to bring peace. Don't you know babies don't bring peace. They bring smelly messes, sleepless nights, and an increase in the grocery bill. Why did you send us a baby?"
In my prayer time last week I was struck with great sadness because I realized that I don't want to find a baby on Christmas morning because, "I like shiny! I like clean! I like money! I like stuff! I like being right and feeling powerful! I like feeling in control and in charge! I like being served, and not necessarily serving!" I wanted to crawl out of my skin and I am embarrassed to say, I wanted to walk away. Luckily, I simply fell to my knees and prayed. I started to pray and tell God that I don't want a baby Jesus. I want a powerful King Jesus who will make my life easy and crush my enemies while I eat fancy food and am waited on by servants. This baby is going to demand that my entire view of life be changed, He will demand my conversion.
John the Baptist is trying to prepare me, and you, for that baby by encouraging us to repent now and turn away from the evil and pride in our hearts, but are we willing? Am I willing to welcome the humble baby Jesus, let go of self, and serve? Am I willing to be humble enough to receive Jesus and let Him serve me, heal my heart, and change my life? As Catholics entering into the 3rd week of Advent and celebrating Gaudete Sunday (joyful Sunday), I am reminded that I should, "Rejoice in the Lord always," (Phil 4) even when I don't understand His ways or His means of working miracles.
God is not kidding, and the Christ Child really is the answer to all of the desires of my heart, but please pray that my heart will be made ready to receive the graces of Christmas Day. As I will be praying for you!