Slow down, quiet, it’s Advent

A Rector’s Notes Article for Monday November 18, 2019

The First Sunday of Advent falls on December 1 this year, which is also the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving.

The way the calendar falls this year, it will be tempting to see the month of December as a sprint to the finish line of Christmas, especially with nearly a week less of prep time following Thanksgiving.

Do not be tempted to give into this rush. For that is not what Advent calls us into.

Advent is a season of preparation, of centering ourselves, of making ready the earth for the arrival of the Christ child. A king like no other king. A baby born without a home to call his own, a baby who will be whisked away to Egypt as his family flees political/ethnic cleansing in their home region. A baby who will point us to a new reality, a new way of life, a new understanding of what it means to be in relationship with God.

And as we prepare for this baby to arrive, we always begin Advent with the ending. Our scripture assigned for the First Sunday of Advent always points to a different arrival, that is the second coming of Christ at the end of times. So, as we enter into this season of Advent, we are afforded the opportunity to step back and ask, “are we preparing this creation, not just for the arrival of a child, but for the arrival of the Kingdom of God with Jesus at the head?”

This sense of preparation is what Advent is calling us into. This sense that we need to be preparing not just for the arrival of the child, but also for the second coming of Christ in great triumph and victory. Advent then affords us a season of time to slow down and listen, to slow down and connect, to slow down and see how we can build the Kingdom here and now so that this creation is ready for Jesus to arrive once more. To slow down in defiance of a culture that demands us to fill every waking moment of this season with something.

I hope that this Advent, you are able to take a moment or two to slow down. To pass up an event or opportunity here and there that you don’t feel will add to your life and joy in this season. To prioritize those times and events with family and friends that will enhance your celebrations this season. In doing so, I hope that you are able to connect to the preparations that we make every year in our faith life as we prepare for the arrival of Christ, once more.

Slow down. Be quiet (be still). It is Advent. A season of preparation, a season of joy, a season for families and friends to connect once more, a season that calls us to stand apart from the culture once more as we make room for Christ to arrive in this world.

3 thoughts on “Slow down, quiet, it’s Advent”

  1. My wife Bev and I have found it rewarding to remember – through our prayer life – that Christmas begins on Dec. 25. Prior to that the Prayer Book Daily Office lectionary offers very appropriate readings specifically for Advent. Following this, and using an Advent wreath with lit candles during prayers as a reminder of the season, helps a lot. Also, and some may consider us curmudgeons because of this, we avoid listening to so-called ‘Christmas’ music (on the radio or through our own music players) until Christmas Day – which gives us 12 glorious days to celebrate the birth of Jesus in context. For us, we’d lose focus on this salvation event if the celebration of same was essentially over on Dec. 26. This practice has been very affirming for us.
    Tom and Bev Finlay

  2. I arranged to meet friends at a local establishment today for coffee and was shocked to walk in the door of the store and be greeted by Carols and a fully decorated Christmas tree. I had to resist a curmudgeonly reaction! I liked practicing the “waiting” of Advent when I began attending the Episcopal church and I think it’s one of the most enjoyable gifts of the Liturgical calendar. Having just finished writing the Prayers of the People for this coming Sunday, I also experienced a kind of “putting the (church) calendar to bed” moment….shhh….be quiet and….

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