There's a lot to be said for this. Especially Dr. Phil's question!
I am annoyed by most Advent sermons, which can be summarized as “Find some time to be quiet amid the hubbub to find Jesus.”
Yeah, right. I can’t seem to discipline my life for solitude the other 11 months, yet somehow during one of the most religiously programmatic and economically crazy times of the year, I’m suppose to find time to be still. To wait on the Lord. To say no to the self and say yes to God.
Not going to happen. No matter my good intentions after leaving the 11 o’clock service. My disciplines go on vacation, perhaps Cancun, in December; I never start new ones. Or, should I say, it hasn’t happened yet. Perhaps another 44 seasons of Advent sermons will change me.
I think the real Advent message is this: Don’t try to swim against the consumeristic current this Advent Season.
Let the riptide carry you out into the deep, where you can drown in personal debt, a fuller loneliness, and a complete immersion into your self. Give until you're physically sick. Push yourself to the limits. Give your kids everything they ask for, and then feel guilty that you didn’t do quite enough. Never say no to any invitation to a party. And always, always - give a gift to everyone, especially to your dog groomer and the assistant substitute Sunday School teacher. Do everything with excellence this Christmas season!
January may be the month when I’m most open to the message of silence, when my distended, bloated sense of self is near the end of itself, like a carnival grinding to a halt before it moves to the next city. January’s spirituality question is, actually, the old Dr. Phil question: “So how did that work for you?”
The hope of Advent may actually be the promise of grace in January.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Oh my! I just found an excerpt from Death by Suburb by Dave Goetz and it really speaks to me. Take a look: