Friday, December 5, 2008
Friday Five: Advent Simplicity, Light and Beauty
It's Friday again, and Sally at RevGalBlogPals has us thinking about Advent, light and hope:
"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. I long for my children to find and achieve their right livelihoods. Some know what they are, and are still working toward them; some are struggling with choices that have to be made.
2. I long for all those who are depressed and upset by the news of the day, to see the good news that's also out there. I am making it a practice to look for the good news every day when I read the paper. I find so much of it has to do with our young people, a generation that truly seems to have a heart for others and to believe that they can make a difference. For example -- a Sunday School class at the Phippsburg Congregational UCC, a small church in a small town, decided to raise enough money to buy a Heifer Project ark of animals (about $5000). It took about a year, but in fact they raised $6000!
3. I long for all of us in my country to work together to solve our problems. I think that's pretty self-explanatory.
4. I long to be a bit more organized! This may seem like a rather worldly wish, but I am speaking more of time management than stuff management (though that needs still to happen too). With better time management I would make time for more spiritual pursuits and more work to help others.
5. I long for my church congregation to continue our transition to new ministers and a renewed vision for the church. We went to a small group meeting the other night in aid of our transition process, and I emerged feeling very optimistic. I hope this spirit continues.