We live in an instant society. We are impatient and expect things now. We want an end to suffering and recovery now; good food – but still fast; our online orders to arrive the next day; we are annoyed to be stuck in traffic, or at the lights.
We have lost the sense of the journey. Of the season of preparation and expectation that makes the arrival all the more meaningful.
Take spiritual pilgrimages for instance. A good part of the reason for the crusades was to allow middle ages Christian pilgrims to safely journey to sacred sites in the Promised Land. In the OT, all Jews had to walk to Jerusalem at least once, and up to four times per year if they could afford it.
We now equate a spiritual pilgrimage with Islam. But they are part of our spiritual heritage. And they are a great example of a season of preparation and expectation making the arrival more meaningful.
Christmas day can be overwhelming. Food, family, church, presents, and travel to name a few of the commotions.
Advent then is a reminder that preparing your heart and soul for Christmas takes time. It’s still not too late! Take time to re-read the first half of Matthew or Luke. To meditate and pray regularly. Listen to the lyrics in Christmas Carols. Read nativity books to your kids. Watch a Christian Christmas movie again (Yes again – how many times have you watched Love Actually?).
2020 has been about as slow as modern life gets. How are you using the gift of time to prepare for Christmas?
Rev David Rietveld
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