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.Â
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.Â
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.Â
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.Â
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.Â
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?