Since Adam, being free to choose,
Chose to imagine he was free
To choose his own necessity,
Lost in his freedom, Man pursues
The shadow of his images:
Today the unknown seeks the known;
What I am willed to ask, your own
Will has to answer; child, it lies
Within your power of choosing to
Conceive the Child who chooses you. -W.H. Auden
My kids play hide-and-seek. At first, though, the rules were confusing to them: they both wanted to hide.
There is something fun about hiding…and a bit scary, if we’re honest. Auden brings to light our first father, Adam’s, own fascination with hiding. Adam thought he could hide from God, and therefore hide his secrets, his sins, his hurts, his pains.
God came looking for Adam, not out of anger, but out of love and curiosity. Where had his loved one gone?
And the blessing of Advent is that, while the church practices looking for God in these December days, we find out on Christmas that God was looking for us all along. Looking for a way to communicate unending love. Looking for a way to connect. Looking for a way to make us all fall in love with God again…and who doesn’t fall in love with a baby?
Humans say they’re seeking God, but perhaps we’re not being honest. Perhaps we’re hiding, and God is spanning the cosmos, space, and time to find us.
That, my friends, is a hopeful thought.
- What does it mean to know that God “chooses you” even in all your imperfection, as Auden suggests?
- What are you hiding from God? Can you let it be found and be free from carrying it this Christmas?
Let us pray. Holy God, you chose the form of a baby to make us all fall in love again. We’re grateful that you haven’t given up looking for us, and as we head into Christmas we pray that you find us again staring in wonder at the miracle that is your life in Christ. Amen.
All italicized quotes, poems, and prayers come from An Advent Sourcebook (Liturgy Training Publications/Chicago, IL, 1986).