Archives For Advent

Mary Christmas

Chris —  December 24, 2013

I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

The authentically hopeful Christmas spirit has not looked away from the darkness, but straight into it. The true and victorious Christmas spirit does not look away from death, but directly at it. Otherwise, the message is cheap and false. Instead of pointing to someone else’s sin, we confess our own. ‘In our sins we have been a long time’ (Isaiah 64). Advent begins in the dark.

Fleming Rutledge from The Bible and the “New York Times”

Advent begins in the dark

Ignoring Advent

Chris —  December 22, 2011

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.

Advent 2011

Chris —  November 29, 2011

This past Sunday was the first of Advent.  As I have in past years, I’m planning on continuing a tradition of blogging through the season.  To give you some background, here’s a description I wrote a few years back:

An Guide to Advent For Us Ahistorical Evangelical Types

Advent is about waiting.  Waiting isn’t fun.  But it’s important.  Enjoy.

Advent: Before You Pick a Fight

Chris —  December 23, 2010

...our struggle is not against flesh and blood… Ephesians 6:12

Osama Bin Laden is not our enemy.
Nancy Pelosi is not our enemy.
John Boehner is not our enemy.

The war on terror is not our fight.
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is not our fight.

Our fight is not against abortion doctors.
Or the those with a radical gay agenda.
Or terrorists.
Or socialists.
Or Wall Street Execs.

We do have a fight.  But if it ever leads us to hate someone made of flesh and blood, then we have picked our own fight. If it leads us to hurt another, then we have committed war crimes.

How to pick your fight:

…but [our fight is] against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms… Ephesians 6:12 (cont’d)

This Advent, may we have the wisdom to pick our fights, and the patience to wait on God for the rest.