Several years ago I preached Ricky Bobby’s Tiny Infant Jesus prayer on Christmas Eve. It was well received. Mostly. I suggested in my sermon that we not forget that Jesus didn’t stay a baby, that he grew up, taught lessons, gave sermons, performed miracles, made people angry, died on a cross, and was raised again that we might be restored to right relationship with God.
Each of us, I believe, has a prevailing image of Jesus. Some like him at the wedding at Cana. Some like him in the sermon on the mount. Some confuse him with Paul in his letters. Some want him to be Santa Claus. But everyone who follows him has an idea of the Jesus they’d like to see return to earth with power and might.
As I read the Collect for Advent 3, I’m struck that even there we are given two different visions of God.
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us… Here we get the visions of Daniel and John’s Revelation. Jesus of power who will whisk the righteous off to heaven while leaving “them” to suffer in the lake of fire.
Because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us… Here we get the Jesus of compassion and love. Jesus who will swoop down and carry us all to the bosom of Abraham because there ain’t no way we are getting there on our own.
As we get closer to his arrival, both as a baby in a manger on Christmas and as Christ the Victor at his second Advent, I wonder, which Jesus are you longing for?