In a culture that is forever trying to sell us on the lie that there won’t be “enough” to go around, the Advent theme of “fling wide the door” is a welcomed image. Or, is it almost an impossible concept?
What comes to mind when you think of a door flung wide open?
“Close that door! We are not living in a barn!”
“Ah, the door is wide open, I can do anything!”
“Life is full of excitement, exhilaration, and exuberance, live and rejoice!”
“Come in, come in, we are so glad you’re here!”
Does flinging the door wide open seem wasteful, neglectful, reckless, and maybe even a bit naive? Doors left wide open might mistakenly identify you as one who, indeed, was born in a barn. Doors left wide open might mistakenly let someone in who isn’t worthy. Doors left wide open might be an invitation to thieves to come and take whatever they want or to vandals who come in to do damage to property.
And yet, it is how God comes to us. The door is flung open wide and along with it, possibilities, and abundance beyond all human comprehension. In reckless abandon, God opens the door to us. Anew every day. What a testimony to God’s character; to think of God as the one who opens wide the gates!
God is the One who gathers us in and at the same time sends us out with reckless (prodigal) abundance. The possibilities are as fresh as spring on a cold winter’s night. And the possibilities are: for you. There is enough here, more than enough—even if the door is flung wide open. For God does not deal in half-measured timidity. There is love here and it will not run out. There is healing in Christ, and it is deeper than our harshest hurts. There is forgiveness here and it is not doled out in careful measure, it is flung wide open in Christ.
This Advent season, we will collectively look at the possibilities that are in front of us because of Jesus Christ. In Christ Jesus, the door to forgiveness, the door to mercy, the door to belonging, and the door to God’s love are flung widely and maybe even wildly open for us.
This Advent, let’s be a little bit reckless and open wide our doors, our hearts, and our understanding of who God is and who God is calling us to be. The possibilities are wide open and far-flung!
Fling wide the door, unbar the gate;
The King of glory comes in state;
The Lord of lords and King of kings,
The Savior of the world who brings
His great salvation to the earth.
So raise a shout of holy mirth
And praise our God and Lord,
Creator, Spirit Word.
He is the rock of our belief,
The heart of mercy’s gentle self.
His kingly crown is holiness;
His scepter is his loveliness;
He brings our sorrows to an end.
Now gladly praise our king and friend,
And worship him with song,
For saving us from wrong.
O, happy towns and blessed lands
That live by their true king’s commands,
And blessed be the hearts he rules,
The humble places where he dwells.
He is the rightful Son of bliss
Who fills our lives and makes us his,
Creator of the world,
Our only strength for good.
Come, Lord, our Savior, Jesus Christ;
Our hearts are open wide in trust.
Oh, show us now your lovely grace,
Upon our sorrows shine your face,
And let your Holy Spirit guide
Our journey in your grace so wide.
We praise your holy name,
From age to age the same.
German Lyrics by Georg Weissel, 1642, English Translation by Gracia Grindal, 1978. Tune Macht Hoch die Tür by J. A. Freylinghausen, 1704.