Today I was preparing a gospel reflection for my ECyD girls for this Friday. As I was looking for a picture to go on the printout of the gospel passage, I looked up “Advent” with the name of an artist who makes Catholic cartoons. As I scrolled through the Google results, here are some of the first ones I found:
(It took me a minute to realize this is supposed to be John the Baptist…)
But none of them seemed quite right. I wanted to emphasize the theme from last week´s meeting, which was that Jesus comes into our hearts just as they are, because he loves us for who we are. These images emphasized more the preparing our hearts part of Advent—which of course is important, but not quite the same focus…
Then I saw this one:
Look closely at each of the houses. When I did, I realized something about Advent. I realized that the first thing I have thought of about Advent for many years is preparing my heart to receive Jesus. That´s still valid- I still want to receive him with as much love as I can.
But I also realized that I subconsciously connected this with some idea that I needed to fix my heart before Jesus could come in. I needed to make sure it was good enough for him to really be born there. That´s because it´s often a lot harder to let him into my mess than it is to try to be perfect before letting him in, because it means humbly accepting my poverty instead of having the security of having something to offer him.
Although I try to give Jesus the best I can of myself, whether out of sincere love or out of less perfect motives, sometimes it just doesn´t turn out. Sometimes I still arrive to Christmas distracted, proud, and self-centered. Ok, let´s be more precise than “sometimes”—it´s really every day.
The Advent message Jesus wanted to give me today was that HE DOESN´T CARE. I´m the one who cares. I´m the one who is too proud to let him into my heart just the way it is. I´m the one who has this complex about needing to be perfect all the time.
He´s humble enough to come into my heart whether it´s more messy or more polished. He´s in love with me enough to be incarnated in my life in its ups and downs.
He doesn´t care about all that: he cares too much about ME.