Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hanging on to Advent

I wrote this last year:

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him Psalm 37:7

This fall the Christmas decorations began to crowd out the Halloween decorations early in October. Radio stations began to play Christmas music long before Thanksgiving.

And again I begin to feel like the Grinch who stole Christmas as I launch my annual battle to save Advent in the church.

Advent is the season of the church to help us slow down and quiet ourselves in order to hear the voice calling in the wilderness “Prepare the way of the Lord” While the world eagerly rushes into it’s version of Christmas, the voice calls us to “Wait” .

Wait for Christmas. Advent calls us to wait, do not rush headlong heedless into the false Christmas the world beckons us to, but wait – wait for God who will come to us in the Christ child at Christmas.

The advent hymns, beautiful, somber but hopeful, often in a minor key, strike a discordant note with the piped in carols we hear in the shopping malls, but those Advent hymns serve to remind us the Christmas proclaimed by the merchants has nothing to do with a small child born to a homeless couple in Bethlehem.

The world changed forever when God became flesh and was born of a woman. The world changed forever when God became flesh and taught us that the first would be last and the last would be first. The world changed forever when God became flesh and taught us to love and forgive one another. The world changed forever God became flesh and died and rose to show us what that love could accomplish.

The world claims it is “celebrating Christmas” and yet acts as though nothing has changed. The opulent displays and calls to “buy buy buy!” proclaim that Christmas is Good News for the rich and powerful.

When we follow the Advent path to Christmas, we hear the song of Mary that proclaims … “he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.” (Luke 1:53).
Advent takes us past the malls and merchants to a stable, where a young homeless frightened girl gives birth to the Creator of All.

It is only when we have waited through Advent for God to come to us in that babe at Christmas that we realize the world will never be the same again.

This season I pray for patience for all of us to appreciate the gift of waiting, preparation and anticipation for the joy that comes when Christmas comes for real.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you 200%, girding whatever we gird for battle. Each year I find myself saying, "Advent is NOT pre-Christmas" over and over and over again. Not even a half hour ago, I left a comment on a blog imploring my Catholic sisters and brothers to take a break from squabbling over whether the color for Advent should be violet/purple/blue and focus on serving the poor instead. Just a thought!