© 2010 John Casimir O'Keefe

The Season of Advent[ure]

Let’s be honest with each other, Advent is boring – you know it is, you have been thinking it for years, I’m just not invested in the system enough not to say it.  Think about it, as far as holidays go, it just doesn’t have the meat as others.  For example, Easter, we have the Easter Bunny, chocolate and egg hunts – did I mention chocolate?  For Christmas, we have Santa Clause, gifts, chocolate and candy canes – and did I mention chocolate?  Sure, in many cases we get to watch someone light a candle and quote some scripture, but not much more (and no chocolate).  Exclusive of the lighting of some candles, we don’t really do anything during advent.  As a person who was not raised in the church, I find that rather funny, because the origins of the word “Advent” is the same as the word “Adventure.”  Both come from the Latin “adventūra” which means, “What must happen.”  But we have softened “What must happen” into “The coming.”  I guess it is easier for us to wait on what is to come than it is for us to actually do something that must happen.  Normally, Advent is a time when we sit and wait for Christmas (we wait for all that chocolate).  It is a time of waiting on the coming Lord, but I think we should take a more Adventurous view of Advent (more chocolate would be nice also).

To think of Advent as an adventure means we have to think of it as more than just something to come, but something we must be doing.  It should be something that moves our faith into action.  When I was a kid and I would get in trouble, which was all the time, my mother would say, “Wait till your father gets home.”  You know what, those words always got my attention and I was pretty quick at getting straight.  If I was refusing to clean my room, those words made me move fast and clean my room.  If I did not do the dishes, well all my mother had to say was those magic words and boom, the dishes were done.  Advent should be a time when we are reminded of all we need to be doing as followers of Christ.

But we fear the idea of turning Advent into an adventure because an adventure requires us to take action and rick lose.  In an adventure there is always the possibility of lose, lose of funds, lose or health, lose of life – adventure requires we take risks; but our faith requires we take risks.  When we take risks, our faith is aroused; we are moved at a spiritual and physical level.  Leo F. Buscaglia (1924-1998) said “The person, who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.”  If we have a faith that risks nothing, we do not have a faith.  But we need to remember that being adventurous also gives or faith a boost – it gets our “faith blood” pumping.

This Advent many of us will light candles for Peace, Love, Joy and Hope (some with have different words, and even light them in a different order).  Instead of just lighting candles we should be asking some important questions centering on the risk of our faith.  What have we done for peace?  Are we willing to stand against the culture and stand for peace?  What have we done to share the love of God, through us, to others?  Are we the light of love to the world we live in?  How have we brought joy to the lives of others?  What can we do to make life more joyful for others?  Have we brought hope to others?  What can we, as a community of faith, do to change the lives of others?  How can we change the life conditions of others?  Sure being an action of peace, love, joy and hope is risky and we could lose our lives in the process, but that is what we are called to be.

Other Blogs in the Synchroblog:

  • George at The Love Revolution – The Weak Ghosts of Advent
  • Peter at Emerging Christian – Expanding Our Experience of the Advent Journey
  • Beth at Beth Stedman.com – Experiencing Advent With A Toddler
  • Alan at The Assembling Of The Church – Walking Through Advent Today
  • Steve at Emergent Kiwi – Am I Traveling Well?
  • Wendy at View From The Bridge – Yearning For a Lived Theology
  • Annie at Marginal Theology – Limping Along
  • Christen at Greener Grass – Advent – Expecting and Un-Expecting
  • Jeff at My Adventures – Journeys and Destinations
  • kathy at carnival in my head – making room for the unexpected
  • Sonja at Calacirian – Road To Nowhere
  • Steve at Khanya – Advent Synchroblog
  • Beth at The Virtual Teahouse – Clear-Eyed Gaze of a Stranger
  • Phil at Square No More – O Antiphon #1 – This is the first of nine antiphones. Please check Phil’s blog Square No More regularly for additional updates with the additional 8 antiphones.
  • Peggy at Abisomeone – Wandering With The Waiting Abbess
  • Cathryn at Love Fiercely – An Advent Prayer
  • HeySonnie at A Piece of My Mind – Christmas WILL Happen
  • Liz at Grace Rules – Advent – A Journey of Awakening

    1. Posted 2010/12/07 at 6:15 pm | #

      John – Yes! Just imagine what would and could happen if just the small group of synchrobloggers took your challenge! Great post and great message. I accept the challenge.

    2. Posted 2010/12/07 at 6:16 pm | #

      P.S. My link and a few others have been added to the list on the synchroblog post http://synchroblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/07/link-list-for-advent-a-journey/

    3. Posted 2010/12/08 at 10:03 pm | #

      Awesome, John! I have to tell you: for me, Advent is boring because Advent was never explained to me growing up. As a non-denominational conservative pentecostal, anything that smelled of liturgy was bad (a.k.a. Catholic – or worse – liberal Mainline).

      So exploring Advent is a relatively new adventure – and adventure is a great word. I like the idea of the possibility of losing – the “what-if.” What if Christ had not come? What if God is not? What if our faith is in vain? These are the questions we must ask ourselves as we develop a mature faith, but they bring us to “dangerous” territory.

      In Advent, we’re invited to wonder all the “what-ifs,” had Jesus Christ not been born in Bethlehem.

      Thanks for the great post my friend!

    4. Posted 2010/12/10 at 4:45 pm | #

      Love your post. Fit’s with the spirit of my post for this synchroblog but with a lot more humor! Imagine if every church, rather than light a candle for peace, joy, love and hope got up out of the pews and actually did something to expand joy, peace, love and hope in this world. That would truly spread the spirit of Christmas across this world. If I ever have my own church, I think I will do just that or maybe I can do that next year as a part of my urban ministry. You have inspired me…or at least inspired my next blog post. Thanks!

    5. Posted 2010/12/10 at 8:09 pm | #

      thanks for sharing this, john. faith is risky, full of danger–hands and feet and eyes and hearts moving instead of staying still. to me, that’s always the idea and an awful lot harder than lighting a candle and staying in our protected sanctuaries.

    14 Trackbacks

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