The Advent Season

For Jesus and the culture

Dear Reader,

I have a lack of impulse control and some patience issues. These are made even more evident during the Christmas season. For example: I go buy one gift and end up with five per person. It’s a problem. And don’t get me started on waiting on lines. I will not be bad-mouthing the commercialism of Christmas or anything like that. I want to talk about Jesus.

I grew up “Seventh-day Adventist”. I’m also not going to say anything about that per say. I ¬†mention it only to say that I am very familiar with the various definitions of the word advent. The latin etc. If you don’t know what it means, basically it means ” coming”. My entire childhood and young adulthood I was waiting on the second coming. I truly believed it would happen before I hit twenty. I felt an impending sense of “LORD JESUS COME”. As a seventh-day I never did celebrate Christmas because of its pagan origins.

However, when I started to explore other traditions within the Christian faith, I noticed that the advent season is a bigger deal than I thought it was. Catholics and Lutherans etc have rituals, readings and prayers for this time. I thought it was a YAY here’s Christmas Day. It’s Jesus’ birthday! Turns out, there’s some preparation that happens in your heart. There’s a posture of worship and adoration that comes with the arrival of the Messiah. There’s also a sense of waiting. It is supposed to be a period of reflection.

You know how I feel about waiting for anything, as a millennial and New York. I get so annoyed at Bodegas and restaurants when they don’t acknowledge my presence immediately. ¬†Waiting on God is not really something I would sign up to do. Remember that story in the Bible where there are ten virgins waiting on a Bridegroom ( Matthew 25). I would’ve definitely been the one who didn’t have any oil left because I would’ve expected the bridegroom to come quicker.

Most Christian blogs when they discuss waiting, there are usually discussing dating or waiting on God to do something. I am talking about something completely different. I’m taking about the heart. Jesus coming into the world wasn’t a run of the mill thing. The Christmas story is filled with shocking details and what would have been scandalous and fodder for gossip. I mean seriously : Mary’s spontaneous pregnancy, Poverty, random star leading people to his location ( I don’t know about you but I don’t know that I would travel on a hope that the star was leading me somewhere to see someone who may or not be a king) However, the people that came had perhaps been waiting on him their whole lives. Imagine a child meeting their father after a war. There was much rejoicing.

Today, I feel like I’m heard the Christmas story so much it’s hard to impress me. The shock and awe when I heard it the first time is gone. I also feel that way about the Occulus, The statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower and the great wonders of the world. I often wonder, Where is my sense of awe? If the Empire State building is deserving of feelings of wonder, surely the son of God is.

I know I jumped all over the place with my thoughts but I hope you followed along. May this season be one of reflection. Perhaps you would like to try the Ignatian Examen or a new ritual during this season. You don’t have to be a part of that Christian denomination to try things that may bring you closer to God. Maybe you want to focus your devotions on the seriously scandalous life of Jesus. To acknowledge why he came as a baby. To reengage with your identity in Christ. I would like to encourage you to do something other than just shopping and creating an atmosphere of love in your home, so that your love may flow from the source of all love.