Friday, December 18, 2015

Advent XX

Have you noticed?  It is getting close to Christmas.  Of course, anyone who listens to anything gets the daily countdown of the number of shopping days until the big day of store closings finally comes.  But, if you are into the Advent thing, and since you are reading this, you may be one of the minority who think about Christmas more as a spiritual experience than a commercial one.  And, if you are into the Advent thing, you know the season is one filled with themes of waiting and anticipation.  How waiting and anticipation is experienced in this day of instant gratification is something which has to be worked out by each one of us in our own way.
One of the practical things I have always done as a way of keeping these themes in front of me during Advent is to stay away from the Christmas hymns and the scripture readings about the birth of Jesus as long as I possibly can.  In my observance of Advent, I want to sing "O Come, All Ye Faithful"  and "Joy to the World"  for the first time on Christmas Eve or at what is my Christmas worship experience.  Christmas Eve is also the time I want to hear the story from Luke about the journey to Bethlehem, the angels and the shepherds, and the birth of Jesus.  It is a story I relish hearing.  It is one I delay so that I might eagerly listen to it.  While there is not a lot of theological depth being expressed by these practices, it is simply something done to remind me that there is value in waiting with anticipation.

We each figure out things that work for us.  Some have Advent candles in their home.  Some read Advent readings while some (like me) write them.  Some folks participate in weekly Advent studies.  Whatever we do, it is always good to remember that Advent is not really so much a season for doing as a season for being.  Learn to be.  It will be something which can be carried beyond the days of Advent.

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