If the church were like the mall, we'd already have moved on from Advent. Thank God, the church is not like the mall. Instead of rapid-fire movement from one shiny thing to the next, the church moves a bit more slowly, with deliberation. And our things are not always that shiny.
A couple of weeks ago, the Rev. Susan Daughtry, a priest in Minnesota, wrote to me with an idea. She wondered if there might be a way to combine our Advent practice with the desire for social justice. Indeed, the contrast between hate-filled graffiti on the outside of some Episcopal churches and the love-filled worship could not be more extreme. Daughtry's question led me to wonder how we might have our love-filled season of Advent spill out into the world.
Last Sunday, we at Forward Movement published our first of four weeks of suggested activities for Advent. These activities encourage us to make real our desire to love our neighbors, and to make God's love known in the world. They're perfect Advent activities--slightly subversive ways of inviting God's kingdom into our world. We might not think of Advent as a time of action, but as I wrote in that blog post, Advent is a time for waiting, not for waiting around.
We're just getting started on Advent. I hope you will find your own way to enter into the fullness of this season. Pray the daily office. Use our iPhone app to color in each day in a devotional Advent calendar. Spend a few minutes in silence each day. Give to charity instead of buying gifts. Visit our blog each week to get ideas for how you can connect more deeply with your community and your neighbors. Read the scriptures.
Whatever you do, I urge you to use this holy season to open your heart to adore Jesus Christ at Christmas, to seek and serve Jesus Christ in friends and strangers, and to know Jesus Christ as he is revealed in Word and Sacrament.
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