05 December 2008

Friday Five: Advent Simplicity, Light and Beauty

A wonderful FF from Sally over at the RevGals site:
"Imagine a complex, multi-cultural society that annually holds an elaborate winter festival, one that lasts not simply a few days, but several weeks. This great festival celebrates the birth of the Lord and Saviour of the world, the prince of peace, a man who is divine. People mark the festival with great abundance- feasting, drinking and gift giving....." (Richard Horsley- The Liberation of Christmas)
The passage goes on, recounting the decorations that are hung, and the songs and dances that accompany the festival, how the economy booms and philanthropic acts abound....
But this is not Christmas- this is a Roman festival in celebration of the Emperor....This is the world that Jesus was born into! The world where the early Christians would ask "Who is your Saviour the Emperor or Christ?"
And yet our shops and stores and often our lives are caught up in a world that looks very much like the one of ancient Rome, where we worship at the shrine of consumerism....
Advent on the other hand calls us into the darkness, a time of quiet preparation, a time of waiting, and re-discovering the wonder of the knowledge that God is with us. Advent's call is to simplicity and not abundance, a time when we wait for glorious light of God to come again...
Christ is with us at this time of advent, in the darkness, and Christ is coming with his light- not the light of the shopping centre, but the light of love and truth and beauty.
What do you long for this advent? What are your hopes and dreams for the future? What is your prayer today? In the vein of simplicity I ask you to list five advent longings....
1. Energy. I'm just worn out right now. I'm not unhappy, nor do I feel as though I'm shirking anything but my physical well-being, but I'm too tired to exercise this week and it is really weighing on my mind and my heart.

2. Silence. I am really longing for silence right now, the deep, long kind of silence in which you can calmly hear the snow falling outside and know that God is with you. Between two kids, a loving wife, and a campus ministry full of busy, energetic students who are a joy to behold, I'm not getting much silence these days, and I'm definitely feeling the need for it.

3. Restful Nights. Both Kristin and I have commented lately on the fact that by the time we get the girls down to sleep, we're too exhausted to do much of anything. I'm not sure if we're sleeping as well as we could be, to be honest, because I've never been this tired this early for this long before, and even though I know the girls have something to do with it, I'm not convinced they are the entire cause.

4. A Sense of Liturgical Rootedness. I'm struggling to convince myself that it is indeed Advent right now, and I can't figure out why. It might be due to the fact that I haven't preached in three weeks; for the last eight years, if you count seminary (and I do), my life has revolved around the weekly texts, but with classes out for Thanksgiving and a personal holiday for my niece's baptism, I haven't been forced into the weekly texts as usual of late. Thus, all those cries of "Prepare ye the way" have been much less noticeable this year.

5. One Free Day. No obligations, no classes, no kids activities, no shopping, just a free day in which we four can do whatever we want. And, of course, no poopie diapers, spit-up or tantrums in that free day. And a unicorn. :-)

Life is good - we are happy and healthy (but I am a little concerned at how often I find myself feeling a need to repeat that statement lately!). But my Advent heart is indeed longing for a change to some present darkness; here's hoping some time away during the Christmas season provides some healthy changes for all of us!


  1. Gosh -- I could have written many of your Friday Five (no poopy diapers here, but we do have an occasionally incontinent dog), especially the lack of energy and sleep and the wanting to become re-grounded in the rhythm of the Church year.

  2. Lovely. Um, unicorns can be found on the black market for a price.