I mentioned in last Musings that with Hallowthankmas in full swing, Advent is a counter-cultural, resistant thing for us to do. Since I’m uncertain I will be able to post Musings over the next two weeks (see article below) I explain myself further here.
On one level, Advent is simply a time of preparation for Christmas. This aspect of Advent goes right along with much in our culture. Stores have been preparing for months now, our shopping has begun, and soon our homes will be appropriately decked out. We know what it is to prepare, which is why grocery stores and planes will be packed this weekend with people getting ready for Thanksgiving!
Yet Advent would have us prepare not by doing and running around trying to make things happen, making sure everything turns out exactly as we want it to be. Advent asks us to prepare by watching and waiting. Advent is not about rushing, it is about remaining.
What are we waiting for? Here is where Advent gets downright defiant. In a word, we are waiting for God to act, for God to do what God alone can do. Central to Advent is the acknowledgement that we cannot.
Christ will come again! Contrary to apocalypsts of both the Christian and secular sort, there is nothing we can do to hasten, delay, or even know the time of his coming. All we can do is wait.
God has come to save us in his son, born as one of us at Bethlehem. Our salvation comes not through our own efforts, but only by the Incarnation of God in Jesus. All we can do is wait to receive yet again the good news of what God has done, the extent to which God alone has acted to reconcile us to him.
This is indeed a busy time of year in which generic, non-descript and unidentified ‘holiday joy’ is thrust upon us at every turn, enticing us to buy or simply to be happy. All it amounts to is a collective whistling in the dark, trying to make ‘something’ happen. This is the culture in which we live, and it is okay.
In the midst of all of this Advent is there to remind us the darkness is real, and it is of our own making. Advent calls us to watch and wait for the true Light of God coming into this world. Advent is not about rushing, it is about remaining in hope and faith.
A Thanksgiving Cruise
As part of her 90th birthday celebration, my mom is taking me and my two sisters on a cruise over Thanksgiving. As much as I love spending Thanksgiving with my son, I could not turn this opportunity down.
I enjoy going on cruises, but this cruise is longer than any I have done before. 4-5 days is about perfect for me. By that time I have really eaten all I care to eat and have participated in all the cruise activities I want – and this trip is 10 days… I will get back just in time to start eating all the Christmas goodies… Of course, on the ship I could say ‘no’ to having a pizza at midnight simply because I can, but slight chance of that happening… Probable waistline problems aside, I am looking forward to spending time with family, especially my mom.
I do not know what type of internet access I will have onboard ship. If I am able, I will send out an abbreviated Musings simply to say hello. If not, you won’t hear from me and I will see you December 3rd.
See you Sunday!