Make haste

Daily Reading for December 24 • Christmas Eve

The shepherds who hear of the birth of the Child make haste to see what the angel told them. Notice how the shepherds decide to go together, and quickly.

Advent is a time to make spiritual haste. “Let us go now,” the shepherds say. It is never too late to set out to see Christ. The announcement of the birth to the shepherds came after the Child was born. In the same way, the invitation comes to us today. The Child is born, the promise is fulfilled: we need to go and take part in the ongoing story.

As Christians, we need to bring a certain urgency to how we live out our Christian values. Our urgency comes from a place of love: we are called to go see the helpless, newborn child. The Child, who resembles the weak among us, invites all of us to come and see him—and to see ourselves in him. Where do we encounter weakness in our own hearts? How do we become a neighbor to those who are weak in our society? How well do we represent the visiting and caring presence of God in the world?

When we live lives characterized by love and caring, we model who God is in the world today. Church communities that take seriously their call to model God’s reign offer what secular institutions cannot: devotion to the ideal of unmerited love and care, conscious effort to avoid evil, and an ideal of fruitfulness in which gain is understood through sharing. Following Jesus’ way of life, Christians have a school in which to live differently and better.

Strangely enough, we cannot model a better way of living without first encountering God. Many hear and see the angels, but choose to stay out in the fields. Advent calls us to respond differently. Advent calls us to be outstanding in our field, as opposed to be out standing in the field. To be outstanding in the field is to detach from the things and ways that are not of God and to stand with God.

Today is the day when we need to leave the things that keep us busy to go and see. God has come to us. The time has come. Let us go in haste. Let us go today.

From The Womb of Advent by Mark Bozutti-Jones. Copyright © 2007. Seabury Books, an imprint of Church Publishing. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY.

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