Summary: Jesus was with God at creation. He was there as a word. At Christmas we celebrate the incarnation of that word. His communication creates a reality and gives us hope for a better future.
Advent is a time of preparation. We are preparing for the celebration of the birth of the baby Jesus. At the same, we also wait for the Second Coming, waiting for the consummation of God and God’s creation. We are waiting and we are preparing.
As we prepare we must enter into dialogue. We have conversation about what this means. We discuss the impact that Jesus has had on our lives. We debate the mysteries of God and the sacraments and the apocalypse. As we prepare for His coming we talk and we listen. And we do this because we have a word to share. We want to have interpersonal relationships with others. Hopefully, we are open to hear what others have to say. Furthermore, I hope we are also willing to say what we have to say.
In the story of creation in Chapter 2 of Genesis, God takes the dirt and creates man in his own image. Previously recorded in chapter 1, God says, “Let US make man in OUR image.” This ability to speak, to communicate on a higher level is what separates us from the apes. It is what gives us intellect and intelligence. We are not imprisoned by the soil. We are free to be open toward what transcends us.
What exactly is that? The words first spoken to us by our parents is what stimulates and evokes over-time our own self-consciousness, our own sense of autonomy, and our ability to think independently. By speaking and listening transcendence and presence are both identified. To carry on a conversation with anybody means that we are not alone. Someone else is present. Someone else stands parallel to me, not just an object of perception or even my manipulation, but the person with which I communicate is a person. The other party is present but also transcendent – in the sense that he or she remains beyond my control, untouchable, mysterious, a force that could in time impact my very existence. This is what happens in genuine communication.
Conversation then is what opens us toward the future. To enter into any genuine dialogue puts one in the place of learning something new, establishing a new relationship that may go into an unforeseen direction. One could, of course, refuse to enter into dialogue either by not talking at all or by simply manipulating the situation by domination the conversation. But even as one does this the future is still inevitable. Eventually conversation will have to take place. Lives will have to impacted.
That is why using words is important. Communication is key because communication creates reality. What we say creates the present and the future. Words have tremendous impact on our very being. Again this is why we must be open to not just hearing but listening to what other people have to say. Otherwise, we are simply talking to the walls – certainly we have all experienced this. As a pastor, with some of you, I have spent over two years talking to the wall.
Because communication is so important to me, because listening and thinking and challenging my own perceptions is so important to me, that is why I really like the way John introduces Jesus Christ.