Advent: What do you want?

Each Christmas, we sit our kids down and ask them to let us know what they want. However, rather than hand them the Toys-R-Us catalogue and say “Go at it,” we give them some guidance. We ask them to tell us something they can:

  • Read
  • Wear
  • Play
  • Need

I have always been struck by John’s Christmas story. John ignores all the shepherds, the angels, the wise men, the virgin birth…John instead goes all meta in his birth narrative describing the true light of life and that the Word became flesh.

And then John’s Gospel becomes really gritty. He explains water turning into wine, he describes Nicodemus sneaking out at night, a foot washing ceremony and a woman caught in adultery.

The words of Jesus throughout John’s Gospel carry tremendous power and weight…He is called the Word after all.

So, to me it is surprisingly not surprising that the very first words out of Jesus’ mouth in John 1:38 are: “What do you want?” He looks at his first followers and asks them this deeply personal question. They try to stay on the surface with a request for his contact information…but Jesus penetrates to their deepest longings to uncover that they hunger for an entire day with him. They long for his presence.

So this Christmas:

  • What do you want? (NIV)
  • What are you looking for? (NRSV)
  • What are you seeking? (ESV)
  • What are you after? (Message)
  • What seek ye? (KJV)

Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

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