Friday, December 05, 2008

A Seasonally Hopeful Friday Five

Here's this week's RevGalBlogPals Friday Five in its entirety:

"Imagine a complex, multi-cultural society that annually holds an elaborate winter festival, one that lasts not simply a few days, but several weeks. This great festival celebrates the birth of the Lord and Saviour of the world, the prince of peace, a man who is divine. People mark the festival with great abundance- feasting, drinking and gift giving....." (Richard Horsley- The Liberation of Christmas)

The passage goes on, recounting the decorations that are hung, and the songs and dances that accompany the festival, how the economy booms and philanthropic acts abound....

But this is not Christmas- this is a Roman festival in celebration of the Emperor....This is the world that Jesus was born into! The world where the early Christians would ask "Who is your Saviour, the Emperor or Christ?"

And yet our shops and stores and often our lives are caught up in a world that looks very much like the one of ancient Rome, where we worship at the shrine of consumerism....

Advent on the other hand calls us into the darkness, a time of quiet preparation, a time of waiting, and re-discovering the wonder of the knowledge that God is with us. Advent's call is to simplicity and not abundance, a time when we wait for glorious light of God to come again...

Christ is with us at this time of Advent, in the darkness, and Christ is coming with his light- not the light of the shopping centre, but the light of love and truth and beauty.

What do you long for this Advent? What are your hopes and dreams for the future? What is your prayer today? In the vein of simplicity I ask you to list five Advent longings....

1. I long for a job that has meaning for me and for other people...that isn't just a paycheck...that enhances my quality of life and relationships instead of acting as a drag on them.

2. I long for inner quiet; the ability to be centered and still even in the midst of doing what I have to do on any given day.

3. I long for knowledge. This has been something of a revelation in the past few weeks, frankly I think because of the elevation of ignorance as a virtue in certain political circles popular in this part of the country. That attitude makes me want to go back and revisit the classics of philosophy and literature; reread the Church Fathers; be and do exactly the opposite of a certain political party's core constituency. Who knew that being intelligent, well-read and well-rounded were radical, countercultural values? Fight the power!

4. I long for a kind of personal metanoia in terms of seeing life as a glass half-full instead of half-empty. I understand that optimism/confidence and negativity/anxiety are personality traits that have a significant genetic component, as well as an environmental component that tends to become established early in life...but perhaps it's not too late to teach this old dog a new emotional trick or two.

5. I long for simplicity of space. Again, I realize that this is working against my natural grain as a right-brained, absent-minded, disorganized clutterbug who has great difficulty navigating in the spatial world. But I am so eager to shed the superfluous stuff in my life. The other day, as I tried to move some debris out of the passenger side of my car, and kept finding items I didn't know I'd lost, or had no memory of putting where I'd put them, I almost started to cry in frustration. Sometimes I wonder if I'm not a little ADD/AHD. White, minimalist rooms...Zen gardens...lots of emptiness. That's what's calling to me right now, in the place where I live and move and have my being.


Sally said...

May you find the peace and space and fulfilment you long for.

Anonymous said...


I used to love to stop into Trinity at Wall St when I lived in NYC and worked in the Wall St area. They would have these wonderful lunchtime concerts. At Christmas, it was so peaceful to stop in the middle of the busy holiday workday.


Dr. Raymond A. Blacketer said...

Your reflections are so timely and encouraging for me as a pastor. In the Dutch Reformed tradition, we have only been rediscovering the church year and liturgy for the past 30 or 40 years, and many people are resistant to the concept of a dark, longing Advent. I get complaints about why we don't sing Christmas songs all through December. The quote from Richard Horsely is perfect!
Dr. Randy Blacketer
Neerlandia Christian Reformed Church, Alberta, Canada

LutheranChik said...

Greetings, Pastor! I used to live in northwest Michigan, at the northern edge of Dutch Reformed country...little neighborhood CRC or RCA churches at every four-corners, it seemed.

Shawna Renee said...

I'm a clutterbug too. Wonderful play!

chartreuseova said...

I often long for white minimalist rooms...but then I remember our first apartment and how badly I wanted a house with bookshelves, colorful painted walls and things to hang on the wall. And a bed frame for our mattress & boxsprings that were directly on the floor.

I think it's my age/stage (I turn 50 next year) of life that makes me want more simplicity as a choice. That and being overwhelmed by all the stuff a 7 year old "needs".

At least now it is a choice, back then it wasn't...makes all the difference.

Just yesterday I put the mattress and boxspring on the floor and put the frame in the basement...not a minimalist move, it's easier for our dog to get up on the bed to nap.

My word verification: nicess