The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


With wonder and awe

We can come to Christmas with a new spirit when we make time for Advent

"Savior of the nations, come!” we sing in the great Advent hymn during worship on the four Sundays before Christmas. But if you’re like me, there are times when you wish the Savior would come right now—in a bid to escape the crush of activities the month of December has become synonymous with in this culture.

How did the Christian season of Advent, a time that is meant to help focus us on Christ’s three comings—his coming at Bethlehem, his coming into our hearts through the Spirit, and his coming again in glory—turn into such a month of frantic comings and goings on our part?

How did this season, originally one of fasting and quiet reflection, become a month of gluttony and overstimulation? How did the lessons of Jesus stripping himself and leaving his heavenly glory to take on human form end up in a season of more-more-more?

Maybe if Jesus would come right now, I think at times, we could stop this whirlwind of overeating and overspending and overactivity.

We can do that. Here are a few suggestions that might help us all begin to reclaim Advent in a way that allows us to arrive at the manger on Christmas Eve in the same way the shepherds did—in wonder and awe.

In offering these, I’m challenged by the Lutheran World Federation document called the “Nairobi Statement.” This document states, among other things, that Christian worship is meant to be transcultural, countercultural, contextual and cross-cultural.

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