Is Advent “Missing In Action?”

by | Dec 6, 2023 | Formation, Reflections

The Incredibly Shrinking Season of Advent

We have incredibly shrinking airline seats, middle class, paychecks, computers, glaciers, and even, it seems our plane and cosmos. Articles have been written about each of the above. But so far, I have not come across many articles on our incredibly shrinking Advent.

News flash! Advent is not only shrinking incredibly. Advent has almost disappeared from our day-to-day consciousness.

It is much easier to find articles about the rush of the shopping season.

We hear complaints about the Christmas shopping season beginning earlier each year.

We don’t hear about the loss of advent!

Has anyone noticed the demise of Advent?

Has anyone noticed? Santa’s coming to town is more anticipated than the birth of Jesus.

To paraphrase a question… Has anyone noticed the demise of Advent?

Sure, we who still gather in Eucharist are reminded on each of the four Sundays of Advent.

That is especially true on the third Sunday with its rose-colored-vestments.

But few seem to have noticed Advent’s passing.

It is probably symbolic that the Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Squares was hoisted into place before most people in the United States had gone home for the holidays! Most had not even put their Thanksgiving Day turkey in the oven.

For a Church that has long relied on spreading the faith through its effective use of powerful signs and symbols, this is not a very encouraging image.

What have we lost to the Christmas rush?

I suggest it means that we have lost a sense of wonder at what took place in God becoming one of us. Christmas in any religious sense is missing in action… or inaction.

How many rush from Black Friday sales to wrapping presents to going home for the holidays?

How many Christmas cards reflect that “Jesus is the reason for the season?”

Yet the really good news is that God took on the weaknesses of our flesh to remind us that we have, in fact, something much more profound to celebrate. It is even greater than the realization of how small a speck we are in an ever see billions of years into the cosmos!

The word became flesh to open us up to the fact that God loved us into existence… and continues to love us no matter what we have done or not done.

Talk about a revolutionary and systemic change of seeing ourselves!

This is nothing new. Few other than the shepherds, angels, and wise men saw the first signs of the kingdom in the little infant in a manger. Two thousand years later, we are still struggling to wake up to being sons and daughters of the God who created us.

What Can We Do?

During this Advent season, may I suggest a modest approach to recovering the sense of our radical  Advent hope.

May we look for the signs of God’s presence taking flesh in our midst today.

In these coming weeks, let’s look for signs of Christ’s coming to see ourselves one another as the body of Christ.

Let’s look for those who show us in the midst of the nitty-gritty of their lives that they understand how great a change in human consciousness Christ’s birth was.

This Advent let us listen!

Let us listen to the sights and sounds of Jesus stirring in the wombs of our own lives.

Originally posted on Vincentian Mindwalk