Some have asked me what would be the polarities of Advent. It is difficult to describe verbally, but I have long experienced ambivalence during the Advent season. During my mid-twenties I began to view the birth of Jesus in a completely different manner than I had been previously taught.
I no longer saw the Nativity story as something beautiful with a young virgin, her older husband, and quiet little baby Jesus in a nicely decorated barn. I could no longer read the gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth with visions of a bright night sky filled with singing angels, three wise men travelling by caravan with symbolic gifts, and the new family all settled in with their divine baby.
Reality set in and I learned that Jesus’ birth was serious, it meant life and death for those who encountered the Christ, followed him, and preached his resurrection. This story of the arrival of Christ and the salvation he would bring to us was not something that could ever be authentically told in a sweet, sanitized holiday rendition without horror, death, rejoicing, waiting, hope, and faith.
Our festive and fast paced Christmas holiday season is not in congruence with the meaning behind Jesus’ arrival, his life, his purpose, and our faith. I love the festivities of the Christmas season; our dark cold city is filled with bright holiday lights, concerts, visits with those we haven’t seen in a while, gifts, and great food. I wouldn’t call for an end to these celebrations, but I don’t want to be fooled into thinking they have anything to do with Advent, Christmas, and the purpose of the first arrival of Jesus into the world.
Advent reminds us of our separation from Christ. We are awaiting his second coming; a date and time neither he nor any of us will know of in advance. As Jesus said, only God knows when this will happen (Matthew 24:36). Jesus has physically left us, God has sent a renewal of the Holy Spirit in his place, and our only tangible connection to Christ are the recorded teachings from his short life written in our bibles. What God calls us to do as followers of Christ is not easy, but He has given us His Holy Spirit to help teach and guide us. Jesus was a living example to us of the hardship and rewards involved in obeying God. During this Advent series we will look at both the hardships and rewards of our faith as it relates to Advent and the birth narrative of the Messiah.
This Advent I want to share with you the polarities of the season and our faith. There will be writings on sadness and hope; joy and mourning; fear and strength; and other themes found in the story of Christ’s life, message, and our commitment to following him.
Each Sunday will be a full length blog post (500-600 words). From Monday – Saturday I will post short reflections (1-2 paragraphs) in the section of this blog marked ‘Advent and Christmas 2015’. For the short reflections you can check the blog each day or visit the God, Faith, and Fitness page on Facebook for the daily meditation.
Advent Week 1/Hope: November 29
Advent Week 2/Peace: December 6
Advent Week 3/Joy: December 13
Advent Week 4/Love: December 20