Saturday, December 17, 2005

I <3 Advent(ure)

Imagine my excitement when I realized that Advent (my favorite season of the Christian year), and Adventure come from the same root. This discovery started me thinking about the Advent journey. Advent is the season when we prepare for the coming of Christ. Adventure is going out on a journey. We usually think of Advent as a time when we get ready for Christmas and sit at home waiting for Christ to enter our hearts and homes, but in the stories we read during Christmas and Advent, most of the people went out on journeys as a result of hearing that Christ was coming.

When Mary was told that she was going to bear a child through the Holy Spirit, the Bible says, Mary didn't waste a minute. She got up and traveled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah's house, and greeted Elizabeth. She probably went partly because her family was angry that she was pregnant out of wedlock. None of the people in the Christmas story had it easy. They gave up a lot and traveled a long way because they wanted to move closer to Christ.

Pastor Amy preached a sermon a few weeks ago about Advent, and how we use all sorts of things to numb ourselves, especially during the holidays: food, drink, materialism, business, etc. I have been trying to slow down and really savor Advent, to focus my heart and life on moving toward Jesus, but it hasn't worked all that well. For the last few years, the pink candle on the Advent wreath has stood as kind of a yield sign for me. Its the candle we light on the third week of Advent, and every year when we light it I think, "Oh my gosh, its the third week of Advent already and I've hardly experienced it for real. I need to slow down and focus." Of course at that point in December, its really hard to slow down.

Tonight I did some Christmas shopping. I have a lot more to do;
I spent hours and only found one present. I went to the mall and felt so disgusted by the materialism. By the end of the night, I hated the whole gift-giving thing, and not exactly because of the stress factor. I love giving the kind of gifts that people will be excited or happy about. If I buy my brother another sweater, he'll like it and he'll wear it. He might even think of me when he wears it. But those presents take away my time and attention from moving toward Christ, and I don't think its worth that.

My mom keeps asking what else I want for Christmas, and really I can't think of much. I'm not trying to be modest. I'm just feeling so bogged down by stuff. I think my goal for 2006 is going to be to simplify. I want to strip away all of the things that distract me and keep me from hearing and following Christ... extra weight, extra stuff, extra busyness.

I need to get away rid of all this stuff in my life.


Blogger B said...

Haha, I'm commenting on ALL your blogs :) ...I really agree with you about the materialism thing. You're supposed to give people gifts because you care about them, not because it's being shoved down your throat by every store on the planet. At this point, it's really just about everyone "getting more stuff." Don't get me started on commercialism, but yeah, it's definitely crass and frustrating.

7:57 PM  

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