During the past year, my sister’s family has been blessed with quite a few babies – much to Great-Grandma’s delight (and her brother). Each announcement (or “reveal”) was creatively unique and filled with loving anticipation. Such joyful expectation!
Having a baby is a life-changer. It bears repeating. A baby changes everything. All life patterns change!
I have often heard parents say, “I thought I knew but you 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. The birth of Jesus changed everything!
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 care 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, especially the lowliest, and everything in a still unfolding universe.
If this is not a call for to change our way of thinking, I don’t know what is. We still struggle with such change.
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 spend our lives waking up to the root cause of our selfishness, thinking we are the center of our world and the universe. We are called to not only praying “God’s kingdom come” but living as sisters and brothers in our common home planet earth.
Jesus is the model of living in the kingdom of God. We need only look at the lessons of his life and death. He said we would be judged on how we treat one another. “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.
This Advent let us change our way of thinking (repent) and “Put on the mind of Christ.”
Preparing ourselves for a change
- Do I understand the birth of Jesus as an invitation to radically change my way of thinking?
- 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?