I like Advent because it’s rude.
Advent rudely pushes back against our consumer culture. Advent pulls the reigns back and says “not so fast, pal.” I need something to slow me down. Advent is rude enough to do just that, like a peaceful bossypants.
The Christmas we’re surrounded by go, go, go.
The Advent we’re entering into says wait, wait, wait… because the Christmas we’re hoping to engage is one of peace, joy, restoration, hope, and celebration. I need Advent. You need Advent. We need to ponder, like Mary, what it means for the promised Messiah to be born in us today. We need to tiptoe in, like the Shepherds, to adore the newborn King. We need to bring our gifts, like the Magi, because a King deserves nothing less. But this requires the soul to be running at a speed that is counter to the frantic Christmas pace around us.
How does one “reclaim” Christmas? By living in Advent space. On purpose. By submitting to the directive to wait. By simply choosing one thing over another.
You’d think this would be easy for a pastor. It’s not. I was talking with some of our church staff yesterday about how Christmas/Advent is a collection of tasks and deadlines, and not a celebration. But I’m not off the hook. I have to choose wait, wait, wait over go, go, go. I choose it now, especially as we work our way toward the last Sunday of Advent. I want Christmas Eve to be a relief, a breaking of the tension that naturally builds as we delay Christmas until it’s actually Christmas.
It’s still Advent. Wait.