Now when John heard in prison about the things the Christ was doing, he sent word by his disciples to Jesus, asking, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” (Matthew 11:2-3, Common English Bible)
Do you remember P. D. Eastman’s book Are You My Mother? The little bird hatches out of her egg and begins searching for her mother. She walks right past the mother bird because she does not recognize her or know what she looks like. She proceeds to ask different animals, “Are you my mother?”
We can identify with the little bird. There are times and moments in our lives when we search for Jesus. But, we don’t recognize him. We may walk right past him, not even knowing it is him.
In Matthew 11, John’s life has taken an unexpected turn. For John, he was imprisoned, and asks, “Are you my Jesus?” For us, we may be imprisoned in our need to be first or right. Or imprisoned in our fussing and complaning. Imprisoned in our busyness.
Or we are imprisoned by the holiday.
And so we wander from here to there asking, “Are you my Jesus?” We are hungry for freedom and relief from the things that have imprisoned us. Most of all, we are hungry for grace.
The little bird’s story has a happy ending. She finds her mother.
Advent is a time of waiting.
And in this waiting we train our eyes to see Christ in our midst. The Christ that we might have walked right past without knowing it. Or Jesus in the phone call from a friend checking in on us. Jesus may be the person you have been avoiding for months. He could be in the hug that comes at the right moment.
Jesus is the person offering us a way out of our imprisonment.
One of the lessons of Advent is that the Holy is in the ordinary. Christ is in that hug, in that phone call, and in the person offering us a way out of our imprisonment.
And when we open our eyes and see Christ in the ordinary we, like the little bird, proclaim, “I know who you are!”
Lord, during this season of waiting, open our eyes that we may see you in the ordinary. May we not miss out on what you are doing in our lives. Amen.