Daily Thought For December 24, 2019
The Dawn From On High Has Broken Upon Us!
“… the daybreak from on high will visit us.…”
This promised daybreak is the One whose birth we celebrate tomorrow. More than two thousand years ago he came to shine on those who lived in darkness. He brought hope and healing and forgiveness of sins. He died out of love for us, and he destroyed the finality of death by his resurrection. He sent his followers to continue his mission, and he said he would be with them until the end of the world.
So … why do we still dwell “in the shadow of death”? Why are we not on the “way of peace,” but instead are on the way of war, confusion, and hatred? Why have we not yet been set free of all this?
Yes, the dawn has broken, but we do not yet enjoy the full light of day. The Incarnation ended the night, but the complete fulfillment of the promise will occur only when Jesus comes again at the end of the world. (The name of the liturgical season that ends today—Advent—means “coming.” It refers to both comings of Jesus—his first coming as a baby, and his final coming at the world’s end.)
In apostolic times, believers ardently looked forward to Jesus’ coming again. From them we have the acclamation, “Maranatha!,” which means, “Come, Lord!” They seem to have thought that the parousia, the second coming, would happen very soon, most likely within their lifetimes.
Over the centuries, as the parousia has not occurred, we have lost much of the expectation and longing the first Christians had. We certainly look askance at those who say they expect the coming of Jesus in their lifetime. But why? Maybe we need some reminders that this world is not all there is. Jesus will come again, and then he will establish endless day!
Jesus, I wasn’t there for your first coming, and I have no idea when your final coming will be. But every day you come to me in so many ways. You speak to me in the Scriptures, in prayer, through the kindness of others, and in the opportunities for doing good that are your gift to me. You come to me in the sacrament of Reconciliation and in Holy Communion. Help me renew my expectation for these comings, so that I am always on the watch for you everywhere.
Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 78–79). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.