During the past year, my sister’s family has been blessed with quite a few babies – much to Great-Grandma’s delight. Each announcement (or “reveal”) was very creatively unique and filled with loving anticipation. There was great joy that a baby is coming! They began a period of joyful waiting.
Having a baby is a life-changer. It bears repeating. A baby changes everything. They make our lives more hectic, busy and complicated. But more importantly, they make our lives better in more ways than you can count. So yes, as a parent, life is going to change, but it’s going to change in the best way possible. It gives a whole other perspective to waking up every day and what we do. Its advent shnges all our systems!
I have often heard parents say, “You just really can’t understand it until it happens to you. No one can really tell you beforehand.”
One baby changed everything – for everyone – literally!
Never was that truer than the birth of the one we call Jesus of Nazareth.
But let me ask a question about that change. What did God really change by being born among us? Did Jesus come to change God’s mind? Or did Jesus come to change our minds?
Some would claim Jesus came to change God’s mind about us. But God’s mind did not need changing! Jesus did not tell us about an angry old man. He told us of a father who loves from beginning to end, no matter what. “God has first loved us!” We didn’t earn God’s love any more than a baby earned the gift of life or loving parents.
I am of the school that Jesus came to change us, to change our minds.
- About God – demonstrating that God really does identify with us and knows intimately our day-to-day problems… and their worst manifestations, even the horrible reality of death on a cross.
- About one another – demonstrating what it’s like to be sons and daughters of God who cares for everyone, especially the lowest.
- About what the kingdom of God looks like – “an eternal and universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life” rather than a kingdom ruled by a few
- About all creation – Demonstrating what it means to be sons and daughters of God who cares for everyone and everything in an unfolding universe
If this is not a call for a systemic change in our consciousness I do not know what is. We are still struggling to understand how the birth of Jesus changed everything – for everyone – literally.
Jesus came to wake us up!
Advent – Waking up to the Jesus change
Advent calls us to wake up to this continually unfolding change.
We are called to live and breathe the systemic change of the Incarnation, overcome the root cause of our selfishness, thinking we are the center of our world and the universe.
Jesus is the model of living in the kingdom of God. We need only look at the lessons of his life and death. “Do this in memory of me!” “Wash one another’s feet as I have washed yours.”
This is putting on the mind of Christ. How different this mind is from the mind of the world that implicitly lives by a “me first mentality,” grasping power, comfort and security. “Keep Christ in Christmas” is more than a slogan of the culture wars. It is a challenge to live with the mind of Christ. “Put on the mind of Christ.”
Vincent had his own practical way of expressing this systemic change of our way of thinking. “Let us love God, brothers, let us love God, but let it be with the strength of our arms and the sweat of our brows.” We have many contemporary ways of saying it. Among them, “Put your money where your mouth is!”
Let us buy into the systemic change of thinking Jesus came to show us. Let us repent (change our way of thinking) and become like him.
Preparing ourselves for a change
- Do I understand the birth of Jesus as an invitation to radical change?
- Do I understand the birth of Jesus as a call to put on the mind of Christ?
- How willing am I to radically change my way of thinking?
(This post first appeared on cmeast.org)
Tags: Systemic change