Advent 2015 (the mess)


Christmas of 2005, I received my very first U2 album. That was almost 10 years ago and single lines from those songs have stayed with me to this day . . . algebra on the other hand, has not.

I have a love/smirk relationship with Bono, quite different from a love/hate relationship, so don’t be confused. U2 has a way of sticking with me and the words below are of no exception. I read this interview 5-ish years ago and somehow my heart recalls it every year around Christmas time, without trying. It’s just stuck within. This is a long quote, but stay with me (or should I say, stay with Bono). It’s worth it.

“I remember coming back from a very long tour…On Christmas Eve I went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral…It had dawned on me before, but it really sank in: the Christmas story. “The idea that God, if there is a force of Logic and Love in the universe, that it would seek to explain itself is amazing enough. That it would seek to explain itself and describe itself by becoming a child born in straw poverty, in shit and straw…a child… I just thought: “Wow!” Just the poetry … Unknowable love, unknowable power, describes itself as the most vulnerable. There it was. I was sitting there, and it’s not that it hadn’t struck me before, but tears came streaming down my face, and I saw the genius of this, utter genius of picking a particular point in time and deciding to turn on this.Because that’s exactly what we were talking about earlier: love needs to find form, intimacy needs to be whispered. To me, it makes sense. It’s actually logical. It’s pure logic. Essence has to manifest itself. It’s inevitable. Love has to become an action or something concrete. It would have to happen. There must be an incarnation. Love must be made flesh. Wasn’t that your point earlier?”

Jesus comes into our mess. There must be an incarnation. He rolls up His sleeves and digs deep into humanity, knowing even better than we do, how sick our hearts are. There must be an incarnation. Knowing we will hurt Him, reject Him, and mock Him . . . describes itself as the most vulnerable. 

My heart has been heavy the past couple of weeks. But I can’t think of a better time to feel this way then when a child born in straw poverty, in shit and straw came to enter into this mess and establish His kingdom. I can’t help thinking that feeling empty and needy and broken is actually grace. . . because without feeling, without pain, I wouldn’t know I was sick. I wouldn’t know I needed a doctor. I wouldn’t be awaiting a Savior. Isn’t that what Advent is all about? Being needy? There must be an incarnation.