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Wednesday, December 10, 2014


I don't know about you, but when I was a child the longest weeks of every year were the first three weeks of December.   It seemed like Christmas would never come!  The anticipation of Christmas morning and discovering what Santa would bring was nearly unbearable.

Of course that was before Christmas beginning as soon as, or even before, "Trick or Treat" fades from our ears.   And back when I was a child there were no such things as shopping on Thanksgiving or "Black Friday."  (why is it called "black" anyway?)  Christmas was all about Santa, except for the carols, cantatas, and pageants at church which were usually well over and done by mid-December.  In our Southern Baptist congregation there were no Christmas Eve candlelight services, much less Christmas Day worship.  "Advent" wasn't even in my vocabulary until in my thirties I discovered I was a Presbyterian.

My early understanting of Advent was that it was all about anticipation and waiting for the birth of Jesus.  Then I encountered a little phrase that shifted that perception, "waiting for one who has already come."  In recent years, I have shifted my perspective even more by giving up on the "waiting" part and focusing more and more on "already come."  Advent, has become for me a wonder-filled time of year to contemplate and experience the here and now Presence of God not only in the scriptures, stories, people and customs of the Christian Faith Tradition, but in all Creation.

Don't get me wrong.  I still anticipate Christmas and enjoy carols, cantatas, pageants, trees, lights, ornaments, presents, parties, and yes Santa!   What's different now is that through the years I have learned to appreciate the deep wonder and truth in The Christmas Story of the birth of Jesus and how it is so real and earthy and at the same time mysterious, mythical and even magical, and how so many people of different times and cultures have experienced this same wonder and truth in their time, place, and traditions.  

As a seasoned adult, the weeks (four instead of three) before Christmas go by faster than ever, and I find myself wishing they were longer. You might even say that when it comes to Advent and Christmas I'm a lot like that line from the old Bob Dylan song - "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."

I hope you're having a good Advent, or whatever you wish to call it.

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