Advent Is Coming
Advent is coming! Now, that may sound strange since the word Advent means “the Coming”.
So, what we are saying is that The Coming is coming! This year, Advent starts on December 3. Many believe that is the beginning of the Christmas Season. Certainly the retailers would like us to begin celebrating Christmas as early and as long as possible. Christmas in July sales, Christmas decorations in September, and Christmas carols on the radio before Halloween seem to become more and more invasive. “Brazil”, a movie filled with dark British humor, presented an overbearing bureaucracy that declared every day to be Christmas Eve and required everyone to offer presents because “it was good for business”.
We tend to rush through Advent in the Church as well, jumping to the joys of Christmas. There is always the desire to sing Christmas hymns starting after Thanksgiving. But Advent is a season of the church on its own with its own hymns and traditions. It is a time of preparation not only for the Christmas season but for the Christian life.
There is an excitement about anticipation that brings life to ordinary day to day existence. If you ever “stumbled” across the Christmas presents your parents hid under the bed and secretly peeked, (I, of course, am not admitting to such a scandal) you know the deflation of excitement experienced on Christmas morning when you tried to fain surprise.
We have not suddenly made it as Christians, we are in a constant state of becoming. The Biblical images of a journey or a race for the Christian life speaks to this process. We have the destination in mind, the Kingdom of Heaven, but the journey is a great part of the experience. We should savor every moment as well as make preparations, asking questions along the way like: How can I be more like Christ in my treatment of family, friends, and strangers?; How can I deepen my relationship with the God who walks with me?; How can I share the grace given me to others who so desperately need it? This we do in preparation for the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God.
As the countdown of Advent comes, we should do more than tick off the shopping days till Christmas or make the house ready for company. We should examine ourselves to see where we are in our Christian walk and what the next step should be. Merry Advent everybody!