"Go back and report to John what you hear and see. The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor." Matthew 11:4-6
It was a frenzy. Snow is being predicted and so the grocery store was overrun. People in a general panic. Hardly any milk left on the shelves. The kids were out of school wandering the aisles, still in their pjs. There is not a flake coming down, yet people are preparing for the storm of the century. I stopped there after dropping Mark at the train, in order to get some more dog food - we were out. It was an innocent adventure with an innocent intention. Never did I expect that I was facing the war of the worlds panic in the grocery store. But there I was, with people pushing, shoving and grabbing. They haven't seen a drop of snow and yet they are preparing for the end times.
I wish we all could take a measure of that kind of effort as we prepare for the coming encounter with the risen Christ. Most people think Advent is a time to get the house in order and the shopping done, rather than a time to turn inward and repent of a hardened heart, and offer our bruised and broken pieces to Jesus. To the Jesus who is coming into the world as a precious, vulnerable child. Incarnate as we are, fully embodied, with the aches and agony of living, Jesus is coming into the world for us. And the blind will see, the lame will walk, the prisoners set free, the deaf will hear, the diseased will be healed, the dead will rise and life will be restored in him. This year, this Christmas, whether we have snow or not, I want to be ready for the renewed presence of the Incarnate Word of God. I want my heart ready for the one who stills the storms to come.
May we all take time, in the frenzy of our preparations, to look and listen to the small voice of the Christ child on the horizon. May we open our hearts and minds to the possibility that what is under the tree is only a token and the true gift is the living God coming into the world for you and me. The One who comes, to live as we do, to tell us that God is in our midst and we are not alone.