in defiance of tyranny

adventThis week, you will be tempted.

You will want to give in, give up, give out.

You will endure one of the most intense situations you will ever encounter in this life.

The very fiber of your being will be tried in a Jack Bauer-esque struggle of epic proportions.

This week, you will be tempted to give in to . . . Christmas.

The day after Thanksgiving, your fingers will twitch, your ears will roar, your legs will become unsteady as you move slowly towards the attic, drawn inexplicably to the Christmas decorations stored there, sultry sirens calling your name, begging you to skip right over Advent and dive headlong into Christmas.

This week, though, you get to fight. You get to do battle with the world’s mad dash to Christmas. You get to engage in hand-to-hand combat with consumerism, Mormon mommy bloggers’ Christmas projects, and Pinterest boards of Christmasy goodness.

Instead, you get to confess Christ boldly. You get to wait. You even get to work yourself into an Advent frenzy with William Wallace-like bravado. FREEDOMMMMMMMMM!

Fight and you may die. Run and you will live at least awhile. And dying in your bed many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here as young men and tell our enemies that they may take our lives but they will never take our (Advent) freedom!

Ahem.

Where were we?

This week, you get to reclaim what is yours: the season of Advent, the Advent wreath, the waiting, the anticipation, the measured pace through the next few weeks, the looking forward.

We Lutherans ought to be good at Advent. {Heck, we’re the ones who created the Advent wreath, after all.} We don’t move quickly. We’re often quietistic. We don’t like to make up our minds too quickly.

And so, this year, let’s play to our theological strengths. Let’s wait. Let’s not be rushed. Let’s take our time. Let’s be slow and deliberate. Like salmon swimming against the culture’s current, let’s measure our pace, take a deep breath, and focus on waiting for our Lord.

The anticipation of Christmas is a picture of the Church’s faithful waiting for our Lord’s coming again. “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven,” angels tell the disciples on the Mount of Ascension, “will come in the same way you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11), namely, openly, for all to see. Ever since, God’s people have been “on the lookout.” We “look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come,” all of which will take place when “He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead” (Nicene Creed). {Read the full article by the Rev. Dr. Herbert Mueller here.}

Let’s not tick off the days in exasperation, anxious to get to presents. Let’s go in our own way: Sundays in Advent, candles in purple and rose, days, weeks, time.

Let’s look to Christ, who is never rushed, never impatient. Let’s wait with the whole Church on earth, methodically and with grace. Let’s pray the O Antiphons. Let’s sing Advent hymns. Let’s look forward joyfully.

Advent is not pre-Christmas. It is not a series of mini-celebrations of Christ’s birth. But Advent is a season of hope, a season rooted in waiting for the arrival of Christ’s mercy. . . . Advent is always there to build you up by showing you the love of the Savior for whom you wait. {Read the full article by the Rev. Hans Fiene here.}

This week, eat turkey. Gorge yourself on mashed potatoes. Give thanks for our Lord’s love and mercy shown at your table on Thanksgiving and at His each Sunday. And then sit back in your recliner. Breathe. And like Mary, ponder it all in your heart: Christ’s second coming, His forgiveness for you, and Christ Himself, whose timing–slow and measured–is always, always perfect.

PS: To all the Mormon bloggers out there, ENOUGH WITH THE CHRISTMAS POSTS. IT’S NOT EVEN DECEMBER YET. Man alive.

PPS:  You can learn about my ongoing battle with The Great Advent and Christmas Struggle of 2012 here.

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One thought on “in defiance of tyranny

  1. Nice. And just wait until you have kids. It’s gets even more complicated. This year the tree has been and and down already. And won’t be going back up. It’s a process.

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