Thursday, December 5, 2013

My Problem with "Advent"

Some of you are probably thinking, "What is your "problem" now, woman?" 

I'm sorry to throw a monkey wrench in the works if that is what this post does for you. Maybe after I say my piece, some of you will share different perspectives with me that will help me see "Advent" differently. I welcome more input! 

I don't enjoy being contrary just to be different. I was raised by a man who never jumped on the bandwagon (which, for the record, seems wise and Christlike to me). It's in my blood to never "jump" unless I'm fully convinced. I have to question every idea I'm faced with. I have to understand where each concept fits into the rest of what I've already cataloged. I cannot maintain peace of mind if I just take in everything I hear and fail to think about it carefully and make the best decision I can to place it in the context of my present understanding. 

So, along comes the Christmas season. A large number of Christians celebrate what they call "Advent." I was raised in a non-liturgical church, so Catholic traditions and celebrations were not on my radar. When I had children, I became involved in the homeschool movement and was exposed to a wider variety of ideas. Advent came up, and I felt urged to consider it. Were we going to celebrate "Advent"? If so, how? What would be the purpose?

At, Mary Fairchild says, 
Advent is a period of spiritual preparation in which many Christians make themselves ready for the coming, or birth of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Celebrating Advent typically involves a season of prayer, fasting and repentance, followed by anticipation, hope and joy. 
Many Christians celebrate Advent not only by thanking God for Christ's first coming to Earth as a baby, but also for his presence among us today through the Holy Spirit, and in preparation and anticipation of his final coming at the end of time.
Ms. Fairchild catches the essence of what I have understood about "Advent." It sounds lovely in many ways, and I certainly want to be reminded of and celebrate the birth of Jesus as well as be ready for His final coming at the end of time. But from my paradigm, "Advent" carries with it the idea of an assumed necessary change, I have to do something different during this season, "make" myself "ready," Fairchild writes, which "involves a season of prayer, fasting and repentance…"

Is prayer, fasting, repentance important? Absolutely. It just seems inappropriate to talk about doing something like this as though I'm not doing it continually throughout the year. As a follower of Jesus, I am trying to stay before my Abba every moment of every day, abiding in Him, repenting as I see areas in which I have failed to be like Him and then actively walking in my new understanding.

Shouldn't we be sitting at His table on a continual basis drinking the living water and feasting on the daily bread His Word provides? If that is how I am living, then to celebrate a special time of "preparing" myself for His "coming" seems out of place.

Maybe I'm missing something. Feel free to share your thoughts.

Happy Thursday! May you sense Him near today! This moment and every moment throughout the year!