We have come to the end of our Advent journey. We have reflected on the year that has passed and begun to look towards a New Year opening up before us. We have become more deeply aware of the presence of Christ in our lives; His accompanying of us; His dwelling within us. We are opening wide the doors of our hearts and minds – the doors of our very selves – to draw close to the Word; to welcome in the light; to contemplate the closeness of our Creator and to cling to the presence of Christ who came into the world two thousand years ago, and who we believe, will come again in a new way to us this Christmas.
Every year at this time we tend to situate ourselves in relation to ‘this time last year’ – where has my life’s journey taken me…? What have I achieved…? How do I wish to develop in the months ahead? In the opening verses to his gospel, John helps us prepare for such new beginnings by situating our story not only in the past year but in the wider cosmic story of the Logos, the Word made flesh.
John assures us that God is always with us. The Word is eternal. The ‘beginning’ is the end. God accompanies us through every step of our destiny, to death’s door and beyond.. By letting us know who Jesus is and where He has come from, John helps us discern how we are to move forward, blessed by the Father’s self-giving love poured out in his son.
And so, as we move on from our Advent journey we remind ourselves again of some of the messages… some of the gifts that John leaves with us… we move closer to the manger and see and believe that yet again the impossible has been rendered possible - God becomes human and enters intimately into every aspect of our lives and into the whole world.
Speaking of the stable where Tirion (last king of Narnia) and his followers hid, Lord Digory observes that “its inside is bigger than its outside.”
“Yes,” said Queen Lucy. “In our world too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
And with that in mind, as you leave behind your Advent retreat and journey towards the stable in Bethlehem, do what St. Ignatius advises you to do:
“Go and set the whole world on fire.”