More and more Protestants are celebrating Advent, and that is a good thing. Advent is a season of the church year that leads up to Christmas. You can read more about Advent here and here. People celebrate Advent during worship at church and also with devotions in their homes. Often people talk about Advent as a season of preparation and waiting, and that’s correct. Often people talk about Advent as a way to disentangle the sacred from the secular during the holidays, and that’s correct. Often people talk about Advent as a way to simplify and focus their lives during a busy season, and that’s correct.
But… Advent is also a time for some serious theological reflection. Advent is both remembrance of the virgin birth and the incarnation, and also the anticipation of the return of the resurrected Christ and the resurrection of us all. The Lectionary readings for Advent help orient us to Advent as they also disorient us for Advent.
We are preparing and waiting, not simply for the baby Jesus, but for the return of the Risen Christ. The One who comes to set the world right.
We disentangle ourselves from those things that separate us from participating in love, justice, mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation-the gospel of Jesus.
We simplify and focus on what matters most, to love God with all our hearts and all our soul and all our strength and all our mind; and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Advent as a season of reflection, reorients and disorients. We look around us and see a world that needs God’s saving love. We look around us and we see acts of love and care that make God’s kingdom a reality in our present world.
Advent is a season of oddness for the church. Advent is preparation for the impossible becoming possible.
No wonder we get sidetracked by Santa and shopping. That’s much easier to understand and to do.
If you are interested in reading the New Testament during 2012, check out Westminster Reads. If you are near Grand Rapids MI, you are welcome to join us for in person meetings. I you are too far away, join us on-line as we read and discuss the New Testament. We also have some suggestions for study Bibles, commentaries, and dictionaries (great Christmas gifts, right?) Westminster Reads is also on Facebook and you can join us there also.