Advent is almost over, and Christmas is almost here. Maybe it’s Austin’s general lack of four seasons, but I’m just not feeling it. I’m not sure how, but I have the sneaking suspiscion that I did Advent wrong, and Christmas will suffer.
If Christmas is the great celebration of Incarnation, Advent is the bated breath that waits for his coming. And waiting is what makes so much of life worthwhile. The problem is, we don’t have to wait in our culture.
Today we get our meals by driving through, or zapping something in the microwave. We forget what it means to be hungry, or how to salivate at the smells wafting from a kitchen. You don’t have to drive to a record store, you download your new favorite album on your phone. You don’t have to write letters or travel miles to hear from loved ones on other continents, you just send a text message or get on Skype.
Following Christ is about learning to live in the “time of God’s patience,” this strange age between the coming and the coming again. It’s all about waiting. And in that way, it’s probably the most “Christian” of all holidays.
Waiting isn’t fun. Actually it’s pretty boring. Which is another problem. There’s very little opportunity to be bored today. Think about the times you might be bored: waiting in line or traffic, a slow day at work, listening to a bad sermon. But today, we’ve exchanged boredom for distraction. All I have to do is press a button and I suddenly have fresh news feed of articles, tweets, instagrams and gifs. We’ve exchanged boredom for distraction.
For me, my Advent has been filled to the breaking point. My days have been packed with school projects, new websites, networking events, holiday parties, on top of my fourty hour a week job. Advent requires space to be quiet, to wait, reflect, and yes, get bored.
Ignoring Advent is like ignoring the light that comes on when your car is low on gas. The light will have it’s way, and you will find yourself on the side of the road. We have fill our lives with a million little things to distract us from the big things. Then one day we wake up with a road crew and yield signs in our path. Life will teach us to wait, whether we want to or not.
What if, in these last days before Christmas, we turned off the feeds and the notifications. We powered down the devices. We could bake things in the oven, write notes by hand, and walk to our destinations.
Maybe we’d get bored, and in our boredom, remember how much we need him to come back.