First Sunday of Advent?!

There is some irony in the fact that Advent – the season of watchful waiting and being prepared – always catches me off guard.  As a kid, the advent-of-Advent was marked by the big wreath-making party in the church fellowship hall, and the hanging of the Advent calendar (the doors of which I always wanted to open ahead of schedule) at home.  I anticipated Advent almost as much as Christmas.  I loved the rituals of the season: the aforementioned calendar-opening; the nightly candle-lighting/Gospel-reading my family conducted (with the little devotional Advent book from the press then known as Fortress); the lighting of Advent candles at the beginning of the church service, edging closer and closer to that big, fancy Christ candle in the center; the song-cycle building toward The Big Day…

Now the first Sunday candle-lighting ceremony in church startles me: “What?!  It’s December, already?!”  I get anxious about what didn’t get done in the previous months, I spend most of the month fretting about the budget, and resenting the crowds and hassles on the few occasions I venture into stores; I try in vain to summon “the Christmas spirit,” but end up looking forward to Christmas Day mostly as a quiet day off.

Maybe that will change this year: I’m preaching on December 23rd, so I must necessarily immerse myself in the texts in these coming weeks (I take a very long time to write a sermon; I’d be lucky to manage one a month if I tried to do this any more often than I do).  Maybe some of those admonitions and pronouncements will get under my skin.

Last year I fantasized about creating an Advent calendar for the blog this year.  It didn’t happen.  But here’s a nice one from the Society of St. John the Evangelist.

Here’s one that will certainly help raise Christmas – ahem – spirits.

And in lieu of my own Advent calendar offering, I’m going to aim for a daily giving suggestion.   Each day – either here on the blog or via Twitter – I’m going to link to a small non-profit group that could use your support.  Here’s my suggestion for today: Second Chance in Fort Bragg, CA.  Second Chance was co-founded by my “outside reader” on my dissertation committee, Steve Sapontzis.  The group works to help low-income families keep their pets, by providing pet food, supplies, flea treatments, and assistance with veterinary bills.  It’s a small, low-budget, amazingly effective group.  Learn more about them here.

Update: my former classmate Sam Laurent has a wonderful Advent sermon posted here.  (Link corrected; apologies to those of you who get an email every time this blog changes!  But that was an interesting link error: instead of the sermon, I inadvertently directed you to a great little jam session between Jake Shimabukuro and Char.)

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One thought on “First Sunday of Advent?!

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  1. Terrific post. Love the description of your feeling about Advent as a kid, and the difference now as an adult. And a wonderful idea to give daily giving suggestions, links to small nonprofits in need of support. Big Mama & Papa Advent will approve and like this, I’m sure.

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