Jesus in Chocolate

“Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel. for among you is the great and Holy One.” - Psalm Response

This year, a family friend gave our kids each a chocolate Advent calendar. Every morning they open a little window and get a chocolate piece….and a Scripture verse. By the third Sunday of Advent, this countdown has become a new part of our morning routine. We open the windows, read the verses together, and then enjoy this breakfast of champions.

I always start out the Advent season with high aspirations of all the things we will “do” to prepare for Christmas. The shopping, the celebrations, the lights and tree. Inevitably the reality falls short of the hopes— there are missed opportunities, and simply not enough hours in the days.

Throughout the Gospel passage, the question of “what should we do?” is repeated.  Each time, John the Baptist offers straightforward responses. If you have more than you need, give it away. Stop cheating and extorting people. We keep wanting the answers to be different- scales to tip more in our favor, the justification to hoard more than what we need. My prayer is likewise, “what should I do God?” and when I don’t like the answer I just keep returning to God to ask the question again with different words.

In addition to our chocolate Advent calendars, we also have a plethora of nativity sets around our house. One night this week, our two-year-old brought a small nativity and placed it beside her dinner plate. As she ate, she kept looking at the nativity and touching the people. “I need to go in there!” she exclaimed. As she studied the familiar figures in the scene, she remarked: “I am too big but I want to be in there.”

In her imaginative playfulness, she has identified the miracle of the Incarnation. Jesus looks at us and just wants to be with us. He wants to go where we will find him, to encounter us in our own place and time. Jesus has met my children in the new book that Clare’s godmother gave her on the First Sunday of Advent. On the Second Sunday, He met them in the crafts they did at church in “Pray and Play.” This week, He met them as they wrapped gifts for children at Dolores Mission parish with whom we will celebrate the Third Sunday.

More than anything though, this Advent, Jesus has met my children in chocolate. He came to them sweet and simple.  He wakes them up each morning excited for the surprises that await them in their Advent calendar and in their day.

Has Jesus met me in unexpected places this Advent?

Jen Coito