God’s people wait. We wait as we hear, once again, how the shoot will sprout from the stump of Jesse, the father of David. God’s people waited a millennia for the coming of the Savior. The Angel announced to Mary, and Mary waited nine months. God became a child and on the 12th day of Christmas the Magi finally arrived. God’s people waited 30 years until Jesus’ public ministry began. God’s people waited three days until the Resurrection of Christ, God’s people waited 40 days, Jesus ascends, another 10 days and the Pentecost Event. More waiting, the Church is born and spreads the gospel to the world. And to this day, we still wait.
We wait for the full realization of the Kingdom when “ … the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.” These are not just poetic sentiments, but it speaks of a deeper meaning, another type of kingdom, in which the oppressor (the wolf, the leopard, the lion, bear, cobra, adder) and the oppressed (lamb, kid, child, calf, cow) will be friends and reconciled to each other.
This baby who comes to us at Christmas is not just the celebration of a hallmark card event. He is the one who turns our world right side up, who will establish a kingship in which all the universe will obey him, in which we will be restored in unity with all creation.
We can envision this kingdom through the perspective of a child on Christmas morning. Remember our childhood experience of waiting to unwrap presents under the Christmas Tree on Christmas morning? We opened the gift and we said, “Wow! This is an awesome gift!” Then the value of waiting and of surprises, more or less, comes to an end until next Christmas.
Pope Benedict XVI says that eternity is more like a moment that endures than like a series of events that drag on. The feeling of opening presents at Christmas may be a small foretaste of the magnitude of heaven, of that new kingdom — in which oppressor and oppressed are friends – where we will be constantly in that moment of revealing the mystery, and never at the moment where the surprise wears off.
So let us re-evaluate our lives, go to Confession, turn away from sin in order to stand before his glory at the end of time and on that holy night when we shall adore him with the lowliest and simple.
Let us grow in unimaginable anticipation for the great unwrapping morning in heaven when no question will go unanswered, when we will see him as he is.