One of my least favorite phrases that I hear in the church around this time of year is, “Only ____ more shopping days left.” Really? Is that really what this time of year has become? A time to amass more debt. A time to stress about the “perfect” gift. A time to tally up who is deserving of your generous outpouring of material things. You know, it hasn’t always been this way.
Since about the 4th century AD the Christian church has celebrated what is known as the liturgical calendar. It is broken down into seasons and events like Lent, Easter, Pentecost, Epiphany and Advent. These seasons follow the life and ministry of Jesus in order to align our life with the rhythym of Christ’. And yet, for the most part, this is something we ignore. Instead we would rather align our lives around Labor Day or Columbus Day and ignore a pattern put into our place by our church fathers to free us from the life of the empire.
Advent in particular can be a time of renewal as we anticipate the incarnation of God. Instead we fret and worry about our Christmas list when really I doubt that was the first thing on the mind of the infant child in the manger. Maybe we need to find new ways of reminding ourselves of this season. Maybe we could introduce an Advent wreath into our family altars and focus on Hope, Love, Peace and Joy instead of Best Buy’s Black Friday Sale.
“O Come, O Come Immanuel, and ransom captive Israel”
Do you find yourself in need of ransom this Advent season? There is hope! For unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is given. Wait…with expectation!