"Advent, it becomes a time of self-examination. 'Put the desire of your heart in order, O human beings!' as the old song sings. God wants us to always be with us, wherever we may be -- in our sin, in our suffering and death. We are no longer alone; God is with us. We are no longer homeless; a bit of the eternal home has moved into us. Therefore, we adults can rejoice deeply within our hearts under the Christmas tree, perhaps more than children are able...
We know that God's goodness will once again draw near. We think of all of God's goodness that came our way last year and sense something of the marvelous home. Jesus comes... 'Behold I stand at the door... open wide the gates.' (Ps 24:8). One day, at the last judgement, he will separate the sheep and the goats and will say to those on his right: 'Come, you blessed. I was hungry and you fed me.' (Mt. 25:34)
To the astonished questions of when and where, he answered, "What you did to the least of these, you have done to me." (Mt 25:40) With that we are faced with the shocking reality: Jesus stands at the door and knocks, in complete reality. He asks you for help in the form of a beggar, in the form of a ruined human being in torn clothing. He confronts you in every person you meet. Christ walks on the earth as your neighbor as long as there are people. He wants on the earth as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you and makes His demands. That is the great seriousness and the great blessedness of the Advent message.
Christ stands at the door. He lives in the form of the person in our midsts. Will you keep the door locked or open it to him? Christ is still knocking.
It is not yet Christmas.
But it is also not the great final Advent, the final coming of Christ. Through all the Advents of our life that we celebrate goes the longing for the final Advent, where it says, 'Behold I make all things new.' (Rev 21:15)
Advent is a time of waiting. Our whole life, however is Advent... That is, a time of waiting for the ultimate, for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth. When all people are brothers and sisters. And one rejoices in the words of the angels: 'On earth, peace...'"
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
(via A Holy Experience)