Dave Black on Advent

He wrote on:

Sunday, December 2

3:15 PM So it’s the “first Sunday of Advent.” Lots of blog posts celebrating this day. Let’s see … we’ve got our advent services, our advent candles, our advent wreaths, our advent prayers, our advent sermons. Odd. The earliest church had no idea this season of the year was so important. “But we need the Light during this dark season!” Maybe I’m a little crazy, but I say, let’s embrace the darkness. After all, what’s crazier: spending millions of dollars on Christmas celebrations, or suggesting that if we gave that money away to the neediest among us, the world would be a better place? One site I read ended its post on Advent with these words: “May God be pleased to deepen and sweeten your adoring of Jesus this Advent.” No thank you. Jesus was not about Jesus. He was about others. He never said, “Adore me.” He said, “Go.” The person who loves Christmas will destroy Christmas, but the person who sacrifices for the people around them will create the true spirit of the incarnation. The Jesus movement is a revolution that shines brightest in ghettos and refugee camps, in the persecuted churches of China and Ethiopia, and in prisons and old folks’ homes. The reality of the incarnation should mess with our sense of normalcy at Christmas. Jesus’ incarnation tells us that we too have work to do in the name of the Slaughtered Lamb.

My heart sinks when I walk into a church sanctuary and see it full of seasonal decorations. It is a dangerous day when we remove the Bible from our altars to make room for manger scenes. For years Becky and I have been trying to think responsibly about this time of the year. That’s why we’re usually in Ethiopia during the month of December. We cannot “adore Jesus” and bypass our neighbor who is in need. I don’t know about you, but I think the church in America is ready for something new. In an age of conformity (even in the church), I say, dare to be different. The church in Laodicea was lukewarm — which is another way of saying that it was smug and self-satisfied in the midst of a needy world. The church is not just to enjoy the Gospel but to live it. May God give us grace by the Power of the Holy Spirit to see how deeply we have been polluted by the world and to learn to be faithful to the Way.

I have to say, I can see where he is coming from.

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