Sally over at RGBP writes:
"Imagine a complex, multi-cultural society that annually holds an elaborate winter festival, one that lasts not simply a few days, but several weeks. This great festival celebrates the birth of the Lord and Saviour of the world, the prince of peace, a man who is divine. People mark the festival with great abundance- feasting, drinking and gift giving....." (Richard Horsley- The Liberation of Christmas)
The passage goes on, recounting the decorations that are hung, and the songs and dances that accompany the festival, how the economy booms and philanthropic acts abound....
But this is not Christmas- this is a Roman festival in celebration of the Emperor....This is the world that Jesus was born into! The world where the early Christians would ask "Who is your Saviour the Emperor or Christ?"
And yet our shops and stores and often our lives are caught up in a world that looks very much like the one of ancient Rome, where we worship at the shrine of consumerism....
Advent on the other hand calls us into the darkness, a time of quiet preparation, a time of waiting, and re-discovering the wonder of the knowledge that God is with us. Advent's call is to simplicity and not abundance, a time when we wait for glorious light of God to come again...
Christ is with us at this time of advent, in the darkness, and Christ is coming with his light- not the light of the shopping centre, but the light of love and truth and beauty.
What do you long for this advent? What are your hopes and dreams for the future? What is your prayer today?
In the vein of simplicity I ask you to list five advent longings....
1. I long for my children to know what it means that their God came to earth in a little baby, that this baby grew just as they are growing, that this baby came for the whole world
2. I long for myself to find a balance between worshiping and decorating, gathering with friends and finding time alone to be in God's presence.
3. I long for a way to be able to give more - more out of my pocket, more time, more freely, to those who are truly in need.
4. I long for those who are in need to know some peace this season, to be warm, to be fed both physically and spiritually.
5. I long for peace, here in my community, in our country, in the world. True peace.
May each of you be blessed with satisfaction of your own longings this season. Thank you Sally, for a chance to reflect on this cold and gray December morning.