Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. —Matthew 24:42
“Come, Lord Jesus,” the Advent mantra, means that all of Christian history has to live out of a kind of deliberate emptiness, a kind of chosen non-fulfillment. Perfect fullness is always to come, and we do not need to demand it now. This keeps the field of life wide open and especially open to grace and to a future created by God rather than ourselves.
This is exactly what it means to be “awake,” as the Gospel urges us! We can also use other a words for Advent: aware, alive, attentive, alert, awake are all appropriate! Advent is, above all else, a call to full consciousness and a forewarning about the high price of consciousness.
When we demand satisfaction of one another, when we demand any completion to history on our terms, when we demand that our anxiety or any dissatisfaction be taken away, saying as it were, “Why weren’t you this for me? Why didn’t life do that for me?” we are refusing to say, “Come, Lord Jesus.” We are refusing to hold out for the full picture that is always given by God.
“Come, Lord Jesus” is a leap into the kind of freedom and surrender that is rightly called the virtue of hope.
The theological virtue of hope is the patient and trustful willingness to live without closure, without resolution, and still be content and even happy because our Satisfaction is now at another level, and our Source is beyond ourselves. We are able to trust that he will come again, just as Jesus has come into our past, into our private dilemmas and into our suffering world. Our Christian past then becomes our Christian prologue, and “Come, Lord Jesus” is not a cry of desperation but an assured shout of cosmic hope.
Reflect What expectations and demands of life can you let go of so that you can be more prepared for the coming of Jesus?