December 2019 Letter

Dear Friends in Christ,
I am on a mission—a mission to save Advent. Now before I continue, I should point out that this isn’t about putting Christ back in Xmas. (If anything, I’m all for putting the X in Xmas! Did you now that the Greek letter X is the first letter in Christ [Χριστός] as it is found in the original New Testament Greek?) Furthermore, my mission is not to be confused with the fight against the commercialization of Christmas. Saving Advent is about reclaiming a season of waiting and preparation for God to enter our world.

It is a tough sell. Most folks don’t have time for waiting this time of year. The same goes for slowing down, reflecting on ancient prophecies, or contemplating the Incarnation. These things don’t have much to do with the traditional trappings of Christmas—the lights, the presents, and the pageantry. Why wait? Why even think about waiting?

Quite frankly, I’m not sure I have a good answer other than to say that waiting is an important part of being a follower of God. Read through the Bible and you’ll find it is full of people waiting—waiting for answers, waiting for justice, for peace, for salvation, and for Christ to return. Whether we like it or not, waiting is an integral part of our faith, so learning to wait well is a good skill to develop. And this is why I’m on a mission to save Advent.

We live in a society of instant gratification, where an all-out war is being waged against waiting. Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and 24-hour news cycles all conspire to make waiting history—and don’t even get me started about Black Friday specials on Thanksgiving. Friends, we know that only Jesus Christ can bring an end to humanity’s waiting. Anything else is idolatry, plain and simple. If we don’t act now, the true meaning of Advent, and waiting itself, may be lost for good.

So consider this your invitation to join in the mission to save Advent. Are you up for the task? If so, I invite you to try some of the following methods of building your own capacity to wait so that you can help others discover the power of Advent:

  • Make sure to get 3-5 portions of waiting every day. Spice up your waiting with a pinch of prayer or a dash of Scripture reading.
  • Take advantage of the waiting that is already baked into your day—red lights, grocery store lines, commercial breaks, and so  on—and utilize the time for quick prayers or to recite a favorite Scripture verse. (Oh, and with the holiday travel season  coming up, airports are a great place to wait!)
  • If you want to be more subversive, greet someone with “Happy Advent!” Talk with them about the benefits of waiting, and tell  them about the One you are waiting for.

As they say, “Let’s hurry up and wait!” There is no time to lose because before you know it, Christmas will be here once again.

Godspeed, Pastor Matt

matt sig