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.
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