Tis’ the season…
The season for shopping, eating, giving, sharing, decorating, baking, resting…
Or maybe its the season for, hurting, missing, wondering, longing, aching…
No matter what sorts of emotions come flooding into your heart this time of year, one thing is for certain. You can’t avoid it. Like it or not, the Holiday season is everywhere. Starting some time in November the local Wal Mart began filling their aisles with tinsel, and advertising all the things you and your family need this year. Even more striking is the speed at which it will come, and then go, as fast as it arrived. It may only be November 29th but, go ahead… blink… I dare you… Like the unexpected and rapid change of the weather in Nebraska, before you know it, this “season,” will be gone, and we will be on to the next.
For better or worse, this seems to be a simple reality of this time of year. We cannot slow it down, no matter how hard we may try, no matter how badly we may want to.
Well, what if…
What if this season is supposed to be fast? What if trying to slow it down, goes against its intended purpose? (I will get back to this eventually)
The word Advent is a word many people in America use to describe the days leading up to Christmas. Usually, “Advent,” is something that begins December 1st, and ends December 25th. Advent has become a kind of “Christian count down to Christmas,” of sorts. We use chalk boards, felt calendars with Bible verses for each day, and a number of other things to create a kind of, “build up,” to the big day. The day we celebrate the birth of Jesus right?
Or, is it the day we open presents? Or gather around the tree? Or Play the same games, eat the same food and sing the same songs? I forgot what I was talking about… There just seems to be so much to get lost in.
Oh yeah, Advent…
Here’s a funny question,
Do we really know what advent means? Do we know what its about? In our attempts to be extra Christiany, during a holiday season we probably should be, have we missed it altogether?
Because one thing I know Christians tend to be really good at, is missing the point.
Is it possible that our understanding of advent, has actually kept us from fully connecting with why we count down these days to begin with?
I think so.
The word advent means, the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. I didn’t make up this definition, I googled it, so it has to be right. Right?
The reason we call December 1st, through December 25th, on the Western, European calendar, “Advent,” is because over 2,000 years ago, a baby was born that marked the end of a historic wait. The people of God, however, waited a little more than 25 days to celebrate their advent.
They waited generations.
And theirs had a lot more at stake. Their advent was more than a tree, a meal and a few neatly wrapped presents. They were waiting for the promise of redemption, freedom & reconciliation.
Their count down wasn’t 25 days, and didn’t have an expected ending. It was indefinite. Imagine the anxiety, the wondering, the confusion.
What they were waiting for was so much different than what we wait for every year. Right?
Except that it was exactly what we wait for today… or at least it is supposed to be. Chew on that for a minute.
We have definitely missed something.
If we were to connect with what the word advent may have meant to the ancient people of God in the days leading up to the birth of the Messiah, I wonder if it might make the 25 day wait, filled with parties, missile toe and Holiday movies, a little more meaningful.
That is my goal.
Beginning December 1, for whoever cares to tune in, I will be posting a daily reflection, with the intended purpose of recapturing the meaning of the word Advent.
Mostly for myself and my family… If you too feel you may have gotten lost in the Christmas extras, and year after year fail to connect, no matter how much you want to, with the intended power of this season, then journey with me.
Either way, I look forward to re capturing the beauty of advent in my life, in 2016.
Thanks for listening.