First Sunday of Advent

First Sunday of Advent

December 1, 2019

We all have our routines, our rituals, don’t we?  Waking up at a regular time, our morning rituals, coffee and breakfast and on with whatever it is the day brings.   There are routines at work and school, in our chores and in our volunteering.  We read the same newspaper paper or check our email; go for a walk down the same road or work out with the same routines.  Our evening routines of a cocktail, and where and what we eat for dinner on which nights; which TV shows we watch or our routine screen time.  And of course, routines that get us ready for a good night’s sleep.  They are our ordinary, everyday rituals of life. 

It’s the stuff we just do, every day, without really giving it a lot of thought.  Until it gets interrupted. Like when the you turn on the shower and the water is cold.  Or you go to pour milk on the cereal and there isn’t any.  It throws us off a bit, sometimes a lot.  When routine gets interrupted, it can mess up our whole day or disturb our entire night of sleep.  Panic and anxiety can surface.  We get irritated and frustrated.  Our equilibrium is off.    

So why in the world would the church ask us, in the midst of an already disruptive time of the year, to break from our normal routines and begin the season of Advent?  Not to alarm you, but Christmas is three weeks from Wednesday!  Throw routine out the window!  We’ve got way too much to do and so little time!! 

For so many families it is a time of frenzy and panic and, unfortunately, irritations and short tempers.  Even if it’s not YOUR agenda, you get caught up in it.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday, decorating the house inside and out, Christmas cards have to get out and the cookies need to be baked and menus planned and the all-important letter off to Santa.  (Can you tweet Santa, now?  I’m not sure.)  But now we have to fit in the afternoon of caroling and the work party and the traditional neighborhood gathering that we never really enjoy all that much, anyway.  Not to mention that wonderful negotiation of the in-law/out-law Christmas schedule.  ‘tis the season, fa-la-la-la-la, and all that good stuff. 

Not that it’s bad, but it does, indeed, mess up our routines! 

And then the church complicates it even more by tossing in the “end of time” grenade!  “You know not the day nor the hour!”  which is so different than preparing for Christmas.  Isn’t it?  Kind of?  Or not. Maybe…

But perhaps we can just take the simplest message from a very complex time of the year, two words:  Stay awake.  Just, stay awake.  Be attentive to your soul.  Be aware of your hungers and how they are fed.  Be alert to temptation and how you respond.  Be focused on your journey, of the path on which you are heading.  Be observant of those around you.   Or in the words of the Prophet Isaiah: Try to “walk in the light of the Lord.”


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