Today opens the season of Advent. As you know, the word Advent means “He comes.” Through the four weeks of Advent we will be treated to a variety of readings celebrating God’s coming to us. Today’s three readings celebrate three different ways in which he comes to us.
The first reading today quotes Jeremiah from 500 B.C. promising believers that God will come to us in the person of a most noble descendent of David.
The second reading looks beyond the end of the world to the coming of the Lord with his holy ones to greet those who have triumphed.
The third reading, the Gospel, goes back a step before the second reading to see the Son of Man appearing in the midst of the world’s destruction.
As the lowest common denominator of all these different comings is the simple truth that God does come to us. He does not remain aloof. No, he comes to us.
That might not sound like news to you, yet in the ancient world, while most primitive religions believed in a creator, they all embraced myths that had the creator abandoning them because of their wickedness. Let me quote a verse from Chapter Six of Genesis that echoes what happened in all the other ancient creation myths.
“When the Lord saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth, and how no desire that his heart conceived was ever anything but evil, he regretted that he had made man on the earth.”
Since all primitive peoples believed that communications between them and the creator had been cut off, it came as a wonderful surprise to Jacob in Chapter 28 of Genesis when in a dream he saw angels ascending and descending on a ladder to heaven, carrying up our prayers, and carrying down God’s cures. Yippee! God hasn’t deserted us.
Then, with centuries of prophesies leading up to the event. God came to us in the person of the child of Bethlehem.