Archive for December 17th, 2011

Reclaiming Advent

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

I know it’s a bit late for this year, but here’s the outline of my talk from a few weeks back, as there have been several requests. This talk was given by me (a Methodist) at an event sponsored by three Catholic churches. There were several people from other kinds of churches present. Unfortunately, there is no audio and no full text.

    “Reclaiming Advent: A Spiritual Season for a Secular Age”

? The Secularization of Advent
o Shopping season: consumption
o Christmas songs as a seductive marketing device
o Focus on the coming of a day/gifts, not a person; non-religious “advent” calendars

? The Season of Advent
o The word: “coming”
o The season: since late 5th c.; wreaths since about 9th c.
o The colors: purple, rose, blue, white, green

? The Sundays of Advent: hope, peace, joy, love
o Advent I = Hope/prophecy
o Advent II–IV = peace, joy, love or other themes (e.g. Prophets’, Bethlehem, Shepherds’, Angels’ candles)

o III (sometimes IV) is joy/rose (Gaudete Sunday = Rejoice Sunday)

o Lectionary Gospel readings
I Jesus’ second coming/coming of God’s kingdom in its fullness
II John the Baptist
III Jesus’ identity (JBapt in year C)
IV Jesus’ birth OR annunciation OR incarnation

? Some Things to Remember
o Christmas is not your birthday.
o Presence is more important than presents.

? The Spirituality of Advent
o Hope/watchfulness
o Preparation/repentance
o Faith
o Joy
o Love/service
o Welcoming Jesus
“Advent… helps us to understand the fullness of the value and meaning of the mystery of Christmas. It is not just about commemorating the historical event, which occurred some 2,000 years ago in a little village of Judea. Instead, we must understand that our whole life should be an “advent,” in vigilant expectation of Christ’s final coming… Advent is then a period of intense training that directs us decisively to the One who has already come, who will come and who continuously comes.” (Pope John Paul II)

? Some Practices to Reclaim Advent
o Speak Christian: “Advent Blessings”; “Merry Christmas”

o Write Christian: Christmas cards / sharing your faith

o Sing Christian: learn new Advent hymns and Christmas carols, go caroling, listen to a concert of sacred music

o Take the Christian calendar to heart
? New year
? Advent calendars

o Participate in an Advent spiritual discipline/adventure
? Reading Scripture texts
? Family Advent wreath with readings and prayers
? Reading a book
? Contribute to and/or use a church-based Advent book of devotions/ meditations

o Simplify and renew gift-giving
? Cut back
? Make gifts
? Give gifts of time
? Give gifts that benefit others
• Catholic Relief Services “Joy to the World Alternative Christmas”
• Heifer International, World Vision, etc.
• Fair Trade shops: SERVV, Ten Thousand Villages (Baltimore), church fairs

o Practice acts of kindness and hospitality (Where is Jesus already present?)
? Buy gifts for those in need (“giving trees,” etc.)
? Volunteer somewhere

o Other ideas to share with one another

? Some Resources
o www.thechristiancalendar.com
o www.adventconspiracy.org: worship fully, spend less, give more, love all
o www.crs.org/act/advent: prepare prayerfully, shop responsibly, give generously
o www.worldvisiongifts.org
o www.heifer.org/catalog
o www.servv.org


google