Every year it seems that Christmas starts earlier. With all the warm weather we have been having I found myself in shorts running into a store to grab Alecia the materials for baking a pumpkin pie and to my surprise the employees were transitioning the isle of special dedication to Santa and company. In my head I thought ‘oh no Christmas already.’ It’s not that I am against Christmas, in fact I love the stories of the first Christmas in scripture and even more the advent season in which the church anticipates God’s incarnation during the four weeks leading up to Christmas but what bothered me in the store that day was how businesses and culture are already anticipating the season of anticipation. The closer Christmas gets the more I realize that I am not anticipating God’s coming to us, the coming of the one who brings peace on earth, goes first to social outcasts (shepherds), excites foreigners (wise men), scares the political head into killing (Herod), and brings God’s promise of hope for all creation. I am anticipating a two month tear of rampant go-go-go in which I spend more time, energy, money, and focus on culture’s consumer based Christmas and not the Christian Christmas. I always hope to get the Jesus story into the season’s business but it is difficult to have the Jesus story, the story of peace and anticipation of God’s coming to history define the way I live through the season. While stores and society are preparing to celebrate consumption, I want to find a way to consume less and give more to the poor. While culture speeds up the pace of life’s rhythm, I want to slow down enough to be a friend, husband, and father (in a few weeks) who journeys with and beside. While my ears will again be bombarded with familiar songs and these ancient stories and my eyes with flashing lights, I want to find a place as silent and as dark as the shepherds’ field where I can hear the angel’s song and see the glory of God’s messengers. As the world around us hyperbolizes things as they are, I want the hope of God’s coming to turn the world upside down.
who was incarnate in a no-name peasant Jew, born under Political oppression and Religious suppression, may you grant us the courage to be not distracted, mystified, and seduced by a reality foreign to your advent. Lead us not into the temptation of relational malnutrition and consumption celebration but deliver us with the gift of faith, faith that indeed you have and are coming to our world, its oppression and suppression to establish your peace and your kingdom on this earth. May the advent season be a time where you find room in our hearts, minds, and souls, may you work a work of transformation and create in our community a community of witness to the new hope the world has in your arrival
Come Lord Jesus