Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you,
for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7)
I’m having a different kind of Advent where I’m trying to walk, not run… think, not speak… fast, not feast…(yet)… be mindful, not forget… Love, not withhold.
So I’m asking Jesus to help me to not only see the whole big picture — the way my theological-analytical-critical-creative skills might drive me — but to see the smaller, particular, personal things he needs me to know, see, and be.
This lone verse comes to us from the longer epistle for the Second Sunday of Advent. My love of St Paul’s good counsel always makes my heart desire to lean in to what he is saying.
Welcome one another…
Oh, to be welcomed!
…Momma and Daddy welcoming a newborn…
…Kids coming home after school and there’s hot cocoa and cookies and snow day tomorrow!
…A beloved son or daughter returning home from a semester away!
…A husband waiting to meet you for a special date he’s planned!
…A long-distance friend arriving at the airport!
…Your most fun guests arriving at your front door!
…Or like the one you’ve longed for, prayed for, to come back to your family, or to their family, or to the church!
It warms the heart to offer such welcome… to lavish one’s love on the one being welcomed. Or to be the recipient of such a welcome.
What a watchword for me. How’s my welcome? Of Christ? Of others? How can it improve? What does this call me to in terms of hospitality, and generosity?
O Mary, help me with this… help me welcome Jesus and others into my heart, my life, my home, like you.
…as Christ welcomed you…
Yes, this is the Little Child of Bethlehem welcoming his Momma and Poppa into His Sacred Heart… who smiles at angels and the warmth of their song… feels the breath of animals nearby and nods at the shepherds with their sheep in tow… and goos at the holy magi who came a distance. This, too, is Jesus who see us kneel tenderly before the creche in our homes and churches.
Yes, this welcoming Christ really is the One all our hearts long for — that took on flesh… so we would know his face, his touch, and the Father’s heart through His. The same Christ in whose name we merit Baptism — a true welcome into union with God and with the Church.
Yes, this is the same Christ who takes on a living Presence in the Eucharist and welcomes us to an intimacy with God that is beyond our wildest imagining, and our deepest hopes.
…for the glory of God.
It’s true, the glory of God lives in us by baptism: “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” (Col. 1:27)
It’s true, the glory of God is the end of our story.
The welcome we give to others must imitate the welcome Christ bids to us…. and Lord-willing, to foreshadow the welcome we’ll receive in our heavenly home, as we all sit together with Christ at the head of the heavenly banquet.
“I Jesus have sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.”
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” Let the hearer say, “Come.” Let the one who is thirsts come forward, and the one who wants it receive the give of life-giving water. (Rev 22:16-17)
Bonus Chorus from “The Messiah” (G. F. Handel):
“And the Glory of the Lord will be revealed… and all flesh will shall see it together… for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”
You can read the first journal entry for the first week of Advent here.
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