The image of Jesus for Advent is “Baby Jesus.” About as non-threatening as God can get. Midnight Mass will give us the splendor of the Infant King and we’ll go home anticipating gifts from Santa Claus, et al., deserved rewards for our good list-ing. Aah, so good. Baby Jesus is not the only one who feels like a warm, tucked-in baby.
But suppose we spent the first 24 days of December thinking of Jesus as grown up, like us? An adult, like this 1942 painting that’s been bothering me since then. Jesus is knocking at the door of my heart; it’s dark in there and there’s no doorknob on his side of the door. It only opens from inside.
In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.” That’s an adult Jesus, who dines with both women and men in a personal relationship.
Since then I realize that the left handed door hinges mean Jesus could be standing in front of the door handle. Other artists have tried fixing that:
Q: What is the lifeblood of the church and its service to the world?
Pope Francis’ Answer: “a personal relationship with Jesus Christ….inseparable from self-giving, from membership in the community, from service, from reconciliation with others.” In fact, “Jesus calls to us from the world, where he is present in the faces of others, in their voices, in their pleas.”
In addition to the infant Jesus we’re waiting for, there’s an adult Jesus knocking at our doors this Advent season, inviting us to that personal relationship right now. How would an adult Catholic react?