An Advent Reflection: The Word of God

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
(John 1:1-3)

What if those first words of creation were not spoken in that booming voice we always imagine but were instead a whisper? After all, isn’t that how the word came into the world at the culmination of Advent? In the still of the night; in the quiet darkness; the whole world unaware save a handful of shepherds and a few astrologers.

There are two things that are clear throughout the scriptures. First, that God is always speaking. Interrupting that silent void of the beginning; the call of Abraham; the cloud atop Sinai; the cries of his prophets; his very own first cries as a babe in that manger. His sermon on the mount; his well-crafted parables; his pleas in Gethsemane; his final shout from the cross. The wind of the Spirit; the letters from apostles; homilies from pulpits; daily lives of the saints. God is always speaking.

Second, that God never speaks in the ways we expect. Footsteps in a garden; stars in the heavens; an all-burning but never-consumed bush; a low whisper to Elijah; and then a baby born to an unwed mother from an unknown town without a home or even a roof over his head. There was no royal or nationwide proclamation, only a choir performance for shepherds. The Jewish people were expecting a warrior who would destroy the nations that had oppressed them; a king who would restore the kingdom of Israel. But, their messiah came as a homeless prophet who was himself destroyed by the nations. No one could have known or expected it. It even took his own disciples some time before they could connect the dots. Yet this was his advent.

What of today or of his second coming? We can be sure that he speaks and that he will come again. But what if it is not the way that we suppose? What if his voice does not sound like the rush of emotions at the bridge of contemporary music? Or a “prophetic word” during quiet time? What if instead, his voice whispers in the disciplined living of submission to his Spirit? And in small, daily acts of love toward strangers and friends alike?

What if the coming of his kingdom does not sound like the blast of a trumpet and a whisking away to heaven, but rather a slow yet steady spread of his love from one person to another until his will is finally done on earth as it is in heaven? What if his return is happening right now, but in a way that we would never expect?

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