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Advent matters because Jesus Christ is a savior, not just a teacher. If he is only a teacher, then you can read him any time you want and glean things from him, like any other teacher. But if he’s a savior, that means you have to feel the need for him.

If someone is trapped, or held captive, or in quicksand, they don’t need a teacher; they need a savior. To appreciate Jesus, therefore, we have to move into the space where we understand how stuck we are, how needy we are.

The Advent hymn, “O come O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel” is all about that. Until you feel that ache, the helpless yearning that someone who is addicted to drink or pornography experiences, you’re stuck and you can’t save yourself. Only when you hit bottom and surrender to a higher power, as in the Twelve Step programs, are you ready to make progress. The same is true in the spiritual order. Advent is about moving into that space.

Our culture, in a million ways, tells us, “You’re fine! You’re great! Assert yourself and don’t let people tell you what to do!” But all of that is a lie, and we known it deep down.

Advent is a time when we get deeply in touch with our need for a savior.
With thanks to Fr Robert Barron – http://www.wordonfire.org
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