When God comes to us than we searching Him
There is a conventional thinking - man is in search of God. This thinking has been there since the beginning, perhaps right from the start of religion. But an opposite vision was born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago – God comes in search of man, and that too in a stable, in a manger.
There is a conventional thinking - man is in search of God. This thinking has been there since the beginning, perhaps right from the start of religion. But an opposite vision was born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago – God comes in search of man, and that too in a stable, in a manger. Because of that we have ‘advent’ today, we have Christmas today.
Advent comes from the Latin word ‘adventus’ which means coming and in fact a better translation would be ‘coming towards us or for us’. God comes for us instead of our searching for God? Since God comes for us, this coming has three aspects – nearness, God wants us, and relationship.
Advent tells us that God is no more far away, He is near us. For all of us when we think of God, the first thought that comes to us is that of a distant God but the God of Bethlehem has changed all that, and He says ‘I am near you, I am with you’. He comes to the paralyzed man and heals him. He comes to the little girl and gives her life.
He comes to the house of the tax collector Zhachaus and changes his heart. He comes to the house of Martha and Mary to give life to Lazarus. He is near the sinner woman who was about to be stoned to death and with one simple sentence he saves her life – let him throw the first stone who has not sinned. He tells the frightened disciples in the raging Sea of Galilee – why do you get frightened when I am near you? Don’t be afraid, I am with you. Jesus is a God who is near you, with you.
In the historical novel Quo Vadis the Nobel Prize winning Polish novelist Henryk Sienkiewicz tells us that Jesus comes to us when we move away from. “Quo Vadis Domine? Where are you going, Lord?” asks a frightened Peter while he was moving away from Rome to escape Emperor Nero’s persecution, and Jesus gave him a clear message –I am coming to you, I am coming to Rome to be crucified again.
One intense experience, Peter goes back to Rome and gets martyred. Jesus comes when we move away from him, when we run away from him. He comes to tell us that he wants us. This is the second aspect of Advent – God comes to us because He wants us.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta says the biggest disease in the world is not HIV or TB but the feeling of being unwanted. Jesus has come to tell us that he wants us. We are worth more than thousands of sparrows, millions of lilies of the field. We are worth more than everything else in the creation, you are the most valuable. We all crave for someone to tell us that I need you. Thousands of people all over the world wait for someone to tell them ‘I need you’. Jesus has come to tell us the same – ‘I need you’.
He tells this from the manger of Bethlehem, he tells this from the bedrock of history. It is not an idea from a fiction, but from the reality of history, from the person of Jesus Christ. He wants us because he is the ‘Burning Babe’ of Bethlehem as the poet Robert Southwell puts it, he burns with love for every human person irrespective of what he or she is. He is born in a manger, in a stable, to prove that God is love not a terror, indeed Deus Caritas est – God is Love, the famous encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI.
Since he is love he has come to establish a loving relationship with humankind. John’s gospel says God so loved the world that he did not spare even his own son to be with us and for us even to the point of giving his life as a ransom. Right from the birth of Jesus till his death he has been establishing that relationship of love.
At birth he established that relationship with the lowly shepherds, the nearest human beings in Bethlehem, but his star established relationship with the magi far away. O’Henry’s “Gift of the Magi” shows it was indeed a relationship in true love. Indeed, the stable in Bethlehem is the historic place where God signed His Covenant of Love with all the human beings, and therefore Christmas is a covenant of love witnessed by men and animals alike.