Take time today to read Isaiah 2-4. Read each word carefully and hear the Lord’s accusation of his people, how their desire to look for hope through reason and logic seduced them to look away from God. See how in the beginning of chapter 2 and the end of chapter 4 the Lord speaks of a time when his presence will bring life and peace to all. See his invitation to his people to place their hope in him rather than man (2:22, 3:4-5). Stunning!
“Come Lord Jesus,” the Advent mantra, means that all of Christian history has to live out 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 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 to us 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 has Jesus has come in our past, into our private dilemmas and into our suffering world.”¹
As you wait on the Lord, what will you need to surrender to him in order to say “Come, Lord Jesus?” What are you holding on to that is causing you to wait for the “full picture that is always given to us by God?”