How we can know about God this Advent
Most of us understand that Advent is about Jesus coming into our lives. We know that many people think that Advent is about Christmas or presents. The Church teaches us that Advent is not only about preparing for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. Advent is also about us preparing our hearts and our lives for the coming of Jesus when He comes back again. Some of the saints talk about Advent being a moment when we prepare the inside of us also to receive Jesus in our lives.
How do you prepare for Advent? If we stop and think about who God is and what God is like, He is very hard to describe. God is actually indescribable. You can’t think about God. You can’t define God. Sister Ruth Burrows, who’s a Carmelite nun, says if we think about who God is and use the word God, we just caused a problem because we defined God by using the word God. Any term, concept or thought that we have is always limited so we are constantly limiting a God who is infinite, indescribable, and beyond thought or concept.
Wherever you are around the world, God sees you all at the same time. The Football World Cup is on currently and countries from all over the world are watching it. In all those places, God knows exactly where you are, what you did, when you watched, how you watched, who you’re barracking for, and at what point you got disappointed because most get knocked out. God sees it all and there is no being that can do that other than God.
When we think about God, we think of the perfect person. We think of someone that is a better version person than us. We try to think of someone who can do all things.
If you think about something right now, God knows. Think about something else, God knows. What would you pray to God? He already knows. The truth is, what can you say to God that God doesn’t already know? How do we talk to God if God already knows everything that we are saying in advance of us saying it?
God is so far beyond our definitions or what we can think about. Sister Ruth Burrow talks about God as being ‘holy mystery.’ She says, in some sense, we can only define God by saying that God is a ‘holy mystery.’ Holy because he is so ‘other or so set apart’ and mystery because we can’t explain anything about God.
All of us who pray have an image in our mind of who we are praying to that is limited. We take God who is so massive and we squash God down to what we can conceive. How can we know God because God is inviting us to relationship?
The teaching of the Church explains how to define God who is so far beyond us who is somehow inviting us to relationship with Him. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
God infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created men and women to make them share in his own blessed life. [Catechism of the Catholic Church 1]
God created us for no reason other than He wanted to. God was complete in Himself. Nothing can be added to God. God is not more fulfilled because He made you. God is not less because you do wrong. God was completely adequate but out of an act of His goodness God created us.
Why? God created men and women to share in His blessed life.
For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to people. He calls human beings to seek him, to know him, to love him with all their strength.
We have access to God purely because God decided to come to us. God has absolutely taken the initiative. It is not done by us. It is not our effort. It is not dependent on the things we do or don’t do.
To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his son as Redeemer and Savior. In his son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.
If God is so indescribable, so other, so holy and mystery, how can we know God? How can we be close to God? In the book of Hebrews, it says this,
Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a son whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.
It was always about God trying to reach out to His people. God has always been speaking because of His initiative and we are the recipient of it. When I was raised, I was taught that it was about my effort to be good but it is God who always starts and us who are always responding.
In Hebrews 1:1-4 it says:
He is the reflection of God’s glory.
Who is the reflection of God’s glory? Jesus. So, the way God decided we would know Him is that He would send his son Jesus and by us looking at Jesus, we would know who the indescribable God is.
So, to know God, you must know Jesus.
He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
God has always been speaking, always taking the initiative, always trying to reveal himself. He appointed Jesus to be heir of all things through whom He also created the worlds. So, Jesus is the imprint of who God is and you cannot know God unless you know Jesus.
Jesus is the heir of God. Jesus is the word. Jesus is the living embodiment of what God wants and desires. Jesus is the embodiment of what God the Father’s intention is. To not know Jesus is to not know the Father’s will. Why? The cripture goes on to say:
he’s the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being. And he sustains all things by his powerful word.
Wow! Jesus just has to speak! Before he died and rose to heaven, Jesus prays, “Father, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus then died, rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. As it says in Romans 8 34:
It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.
Right now, Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father and he is interceding for us right now. He is in constant intercession for the people that He died for and that He rose for. Jesus prays and intercedes for you!
The twelve apostles didn’t understand everything that was happening and many of also fail to understand. It is so hard to grasp that the way to understand God is through Jesus, who is the imprint of the Father. To see the indescribable, infinite, inconceivable God, we must look at Jesus. You can’t know God unless you see Jesus.
The answer to the issues that we face in life is Jesus.
As Jesus comes into our world this Advent, as we reflect on the Scriptures, reading the stories of Jesus’ life, at the things that Jesus taught, at the way Jesus acted, if we listen to Jesus, what is Jesus always doing? Jesus is always revealing the Father to us.
Advent is this moment when Jesus is coming! The church has established the tradition that for these four weeks before Christmas we are reminded to listen to Jesus then you will see the Father’s plan and you will see the indescribable God.
In Advent, Jesus is about to take the initiative. Jesus is coming as a baby. He is going to come as someone who is defenseless. He is going to come in innocence and then He will live his life and show us through His life how to live for the Father.
Advent is about getting ready for revelation of who Jesus is and He will reveal the Father to us.
Advent is taking stock and asking, how much do I put Jesus first in my life.
Advent is asking how surrendered am I so that I can do God’s will.
Advent is about coming to understand that the Father loves you, that the Father has a plan for you, that the Father wants you to know Him and experience Him deeply.