“It doesn’t feel like Christmas until someone gets pepper sprayed at Target.” -Jon Stewart
I’ll get back to this video.
For over a thousand years Christians have observed this time of year as a season called “Advent.” Now I grew up in a church that was suspect of all things Catholic (I wasn’t allowed to be friends with girls named Mary). But this is not just a Catholic idea, Christians from all the traditions have celebrated Advent, and even if it is new to you, I think that Advent might have a word to bless you.
Advent is just the Latin word for “Coming” It’s the idea that Jesus came into the world, and that he will one day soon come into the world again.
Advent is about the longing that is in every human heart, a desire, an ache that we all share for things to be different…to be better. The season of Advent is where we name the brokenness in our own hearts, and in the world.
At the heart of Advent is the recognition that something is missing.
And this is the difference between what Americans call Christmas and the Advent season. Every year for Christmas we wait and anticipate for Christmas morning and family gatherings and gifts.
And every December 26th we tend to feel a little let down, because we realize what we should have known all along.
Something is missing that can’t be wrapped up with a bow.
And Advent says that something isn’t a thing. It’s a Someone. Jesus is coming to the world.
I read an article the other day about how American’s new religion, despite what any survey says, really isn’t “none’s” or Mormonism or Evangelicalism. It’s shopping. The article points out that the dominant activity for this “Holiday season” really isn’t visiting a church or temple for worship or prayer. It’s standing in lines and camping out at stores for their doorbuster deals.
Each year we hear about people being killed by the stampede as Wal-Mart opens their doors for the waiting masses. And I think it’s important to remember that unlike stampedes in other parts of the world, these are all people who aren’t rushing for food for their starving children. We don’t really need anything…except more. Continue reading Something is Missing #2: Black Friday