Friday, November 25, 2011

I'll Have a Blue Advent

It can’t be helped this week, I’m thinking of my favorite holiday of the year—American Thanksgiving.

As congregational pastor, Thanksgiving is one is the easiest holidays of the year. There is nothing really to prepare for liturgically. Besides turkey, potatoes, and other good food, there is nothing to buy. Besides gathering with family and friends to eat, there is nothing extra to do. It is a true holiday for those of us in local church ministry.

This week is also the beginning of the “Christmas season” in The United States. This, of course, is not exactly accurate from a world perspective or from the liturgical practices. Christmas does not begin until sundown on December 24. Before that, we have the season of preparation, Advent. Much of the time we have a tendency, especially in The United States, to skip Advent and move directly into Christmastide.

But what we miss when we skip Advent and move directly from Thanksgiving to Christmas, is a time to truly reflect and prepare for the Christmas festival, which is grand, magnificent, and filled with joy, wonder, and delight.

We invite you this Advent to join with us as we focus upon the season of preparation even as we live within the world.

What do we mean? Well, let’s take this example: In liturgical churches, colors help define the season. In times of celebration (Christmas, Easter, Weddings, Funerals), white is on the altar and the pastor’s vestments. In times of growth and everydayness of life, green is the color, symbolizing those ordinary times of life. During the times when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, we use Red, symbolizing flame! In times of preparation, we use purple. Purple is the color of penitence, of royalty, and of waiting. Purple is the color of Lent and Advent.

But Advent has a second color: blue. Blue is the color of waiting, of expectation, of royalty. Blue is also appropriate as we think about Advent not just as a time of penitence as it is a time of preparation. It is a time of reflection and acknowledging the “not yet.”

Occupy Advent is not about playing dirges, being Scrooges, and having a miserable time for you and everyone around you. That is not what Advent is about. We hope that you will take this season of Advent and truly prepare. Set aside the national holiday, the rampant consumerism and focus instead on preparing, with joy, for the coming of the Christ Child, Jesus, who was born, laid in a manger, and was worshipped by, shepherds (the working class), kings, and angels.

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