"Advent is the beginning of the end of all in us that is not yet Christ." -- Thomas Merton
Once again, Thomas Merton has arrested me with his words. These sixteen words have been haunting me for a few days now. I am not struggling with their meaning. It is pretty straight-forward, don't you think? This season we love so much because it "prepares us for the birth of our Savior" and the joy of things to come (i.e. - that Christ will come again) is even more than that. Advent is not just about waiting expectantly for our Savior, it is about dying to ourselves and becoming more like Christ. If it sounds more like Lent to you, I would say you are not alone. But I find myself convinced of and convicted by Merton's words about this season.
If Advent really is about preparing ourselves to celebrate Christ's birth and anticipate his return, what Merton said must be part of that. This season must be the start of something deeper in us personally. As we celebrate His birth, we must celebrate our death. Only in death to ourselves can we experience the light and life that Christ brings. Only when we come to the end of ourselves can we begin again with Christ.
I love Advent more every year as my understanding of it grows. This quote from Merton is challenging, but I like it. I think there's real truth in his words. Any thoughts?