Text Messages

Text Messages

Beginning to Look a Lot Like Advent

I wrote this (ahem) incredibly wise and insightful entry on Advent yesterday, and it was apparently lost in the ether. But that’s for the best–the truth is that I don’t have much wisdom or insight on a tradition that I’ve only just begun observing, and awkwardly at that. 

Like most kids raised evangelical, Christmas happened all at once on December 25. Mostly between the hours of 6:00am, or as early as we could wake up, and 7:00am, or as quickly as we could get the presents open. My mom even had a habit of taking the tree down on Christmas day, so there was very little lingering on either side of the holiday. 
I’ve been slowly and inexorably drawn to the liturgical calendar the past few years (also like a lot of kids raised evangelical). Lent was the gateway drug, a fuller realization of the Easter season was more hardcore, and, now, with fits and starts each year, my December worship is beginning to look a lot more like Advent. 
It’s probably the other way around for most liturgical newbies–many is the Baptist or Pentecostal home with an Advent wreath or calendar. But for me, the noise of Christmas as I’ve known it has been very tough to displace. I’ve done a remarkably poor job at anticipating Advent, and thus it usually arrives (as it did on Sunday) without my having taken the time to prepare myself. I’ve no reflective reading prepared, no family ritual planned, no intention to fast, no real dedication to ushering in this special season. 
But neither do I intend to have myself a guilty little Christmas. I hope for years when my family is in the Advent flow. For this year, though, we’re going to take a small step in the direction of displacing Christmas noise and reforming our December habits by hooking up with the Advent Conspiracy. AC’s basic mission is to replace consumption with compassion by encouraging people to give their presence rather than products, and use the money they save to do some tangible good. (See the teaser video below.) We haven’t decided specifically how we’re going to do this just yet, but I’ve a couple viable ideas that we’ll put to work shortly. 
Isn’t it this kind of stuff–actually changing your behavior, and trusting that changed attitudes will follow–that observing the seasons is largely about?

Comments read comments(1)
post a comment
Kay Jay

posted December 3, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Just before I watched the video clip I had read an email from my nephew
Scott and his wife. They are on a mission trip to a refugee camp in Guatemala. Families there are living in cardboard boxes with trash bag roofs. Kind of puts decorating our houses with billions of Christmas lights into perspective.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

The Last Text Message
Today is my last day with Beliefnet, and my last day as the author of this blog. The Text Messages archives will remain live at this location, but posting will cease. If that sounds gloomy, it's an accurate reflection of my mind this ...

posted 3:47:12pm Feb. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Quitting Church: A Q&A with Julia Duin
Why do people stop going to church? This big question is the subject of Julia Duin's small book, Quitting Church: Why teh Faithful are Fleeing and What To Do About It. Duin is not a disinterested observer of the phenomenon of church-dropping; ...

posted 4:03:51pm Feb. 03, 2009 | read full post »

Rob Stennett vs. Marilynne Robinson
I'm overjoyed that my good friend Rob Stennett has won the Award of Merit from Christianity Today for his novel The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher. (Here's CT's review of the book.) Stennett's hilarious book is about a real estate agent who ...

posted 2:36:44pm Jan. 30, 2009 | read full post »

What is spiritual restoration?
Slate asked for an essay on Ted Haggard's spiritual restoration. I'm okay with what I came up with for now, but the more I think about it, the more I think we need better thinking on what restoration looks like for very public, outspoken, ...

posted 9:00:56am Jan. 29, 2009 | read full post »

It's Not TV; it's Ted TV
A blog might not be the best medium for an essay like this. But I want to offer some more considered thoughts on Ted Haggard and his HBO documentary; I hope this performs some kind of service in a story that I hope will end--in its public ...

posted 3:57:44am Jan. 28, 2009 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.