With each Sunday of Advent, it is as though the Spirit brings us deeper into the Presence by bringing us closer to having our feet on the ground, closer to the present, and closer to our own hearts. The divine Heart Surgeon is reconfiguring our desires so that we can inhabit both the Presence and the present. How else can we be made alive?
This means learning how to long, how to hope and how to be vulnerable to failure. There is no coming without traveling this route. If we cannot be taken to the end of ourselves, stretched beyond our capacity to imagine a salvation, and have our longing forged against the hard anvil of apparent impossibility, then we are still wanting something that is a continuation of our selves, and not the Other who is coming in.
James Alison is the author of Broken Hearts and New Creations: Intimations of a Great Reversal (Continuum) and a forthcoming adult introduction to the Christian faith, The Forgiving Victim: An Induction into Christian Vulnerability.