We’ve reached the end of the readings for Advent. I cannot imagine a more fitting way to end our time of looking back to a time of waiting to reexamine our current time of waiting for Christ. Jesus stepped in to show Israel who God called them to be. We look back to what Jesus said and did in his ministry to see how we are to carry on while we wait for his return. The image of the father in this parable is the mirror we need to continually gaze into. The father knows when a party is needed and also recognizes who isn’t at the party. He goes out to each son and pleads with them to celebrate. As people of the resurrection, we need to develop the eyes of the father who can spot new life coming down the dark road and also extend new life to those who refuse to celebrate.
Wherever we see resurrection occurring, wherever we see new life bursting out, it is appropriate and necessary to celebrate (15:32). To not celebrate, is to pretend that God has not been at work bringing his love and generosity to the world. Failure to celebrate is a failure to meet God’s generosity with gratitude.
In the parable of the two sons, the story of the older son carries the punch of the parable. This is how Jesus responds to his critics who criticize him for having parties with the deplorables. As we begin this new year, who will you develop eyes to see worth celebrating? Where do you see the resurrection bursting forth around you? How would your life look different in a year if at the end of every day you looked back to see where you saw God working to bring renewal to this broken world and chose to end your day with celebrating what God is doing around you?