A comforting aroma…fresh-baked cookies!…filled our kitchen yesterday afternoon. Mommy, Grandma and Big Brother stood just a few feet away, stirring the next batch. Gramps was holding him snug, in a firm and loving embrace.
Still, somehow, little Jonah concluded that everything was not right with his world. Quicker than you can say “ginger snap,” he started going all-Ray-LaMontagne on me.
So just before tending to our grandson’s budding whimper, I managed to click a quick selfie (perhaps inadvertently documenting a genetic component to the little guy’s sometimes fretful outlook).
Jonah, beloved Jonah: There’s truly no reason to cry.
Ah, but how accustomed we’ve become—we humans—to groaning.
It’s in our nature, it seems: Trouble, trouble, everywhere…and God, so far removed. So oblivious, so tone-deaf, to our pleas.
But today I found something of an Advent lesson in Jonah’s precious expression…when I heard the gospel reading at Mass. The stage is being set for redemption:
[T]he angel said…“Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard.
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.
And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.
Great news, right? Glad tidings…especially for a couple who’d suffered through many years of infertility. Still, somehow, in that moment anxiety ensued:
Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.
‘Uncle Zech, beloved Uncle,’ you can almost hear Jesus saying. ‘There’s truly no reason to cry…because in the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us.’
‘Your son John,’ Jesus says, ‘shall be called prophet of the Most High…giving God’s people knowledge of this salvation…’
Our little Jonah is something of a prophet, too, it seems. Already a wise one, he’s capable of reminding me how very difficult it can be to see the bounty that’s right in front of us.
A bounty WAY bigger than a fresh batch of Christmas cookies: Salvation itself.
It is a gift, we’re told, that has been part of God’s plan for us…right from the start…preceding all generations, brewing since the beginning of time.
In Advent, we pause to call this Gift by name:
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
Sign of God’s love for all the people:
Come to save us without delay!
Come, Lord Jesus! Come!
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.
Merry Christmas to you and yours, John.