"we need to wait" - busyness and advent

Ours is a busy culture. We do a lot. As such, Christmas is a sort-of annual festival of busyness. Our chaotic lives display a pace unparalleled the rest of the year.

Partying, shopping, eating - busyness becomes our measure of faithfulness to the ‘spirit of Christmas.’ One doesn’t have to be pessimistic of the busyness, for sure. Much of the activity reflects a genuine desire to connect and celebrate, to recognize family and faith, hope and love - it’s a good busyness in this sense. But busy nonetheless. The more the merrier!

Advent by Linda McCray
Often lost in the hum of holiday busyness is the Christian celebration of Advent, which begins this coming Sunday. Advent literally means “coming,” and incorporates practices of expectation and longing for the advent of God - “Immanuel...God with us” (Mt. 1:23). At its core, then, Advent isn’t about the frenzy of celebrating Christmas, but the act of waiting for Christmas.

But we’re busy. We don’t wait. We get things done. Christmas starts now (now being as early as September for some retailers)!

There is a real danger that our well-intentioned busyness distracts us from our deepest needs. Longing characterizes much of life - expectations for relationships, careers, happiness and such. Whether we like it or not, much of life is spent waiting.

Advent brings this experience of waiting to our celebration of Christmas. Like God’s people of old, we still wait for mercy and blessing in our lives and for this world. Yes, Christmas marks the fullness of God’s promised presence, but Advent marks how this promise finds fulfillment in the journey of anticipation. Unlike our typical Christmas festivities, God doesn’t give us everything at once. This isn’t how God chose to reveal himself. This isn’t how we should commemorate God revealing himself.

We need Advent.

We need to wait. 


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