Author Topic: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas  (Read 1604 times)

Mel Harris

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2012, 04:52:41 PM »

Isn't Christmas what we are preparing for though?  Is it not why we remember our sinfulness in penitence as we look in hope towards Christ's incarnation?


       Obviously we are doing things during Advent to prepare for our keeping of Christmas in our homes and in our congregations.  It is also true that Advent devotional materials for children do focus on the Christmas story and serve as a count down to our Christmas celebrations.  However, many years ago I came to the conclusion that the primary focus of Advent is that the one who came into this world as one of us, and who comes to us through Word and Sacraments and the fellowship of his people, will come again to judge the living and the dead.  With that in mind, read through our traditional Advent hymns and the lectionary readings for the Sundays in Advent.  I think you may come to agree with me that the Advent call to repentance and hope is to prepare us for and to guide us to look toward the second coming of Our Lord.

        Mel

D. Engebretson

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2012, 05:56:20 PM »
Advent is not so much the preparation for Christmas as it is the preparation for His final coming, as you note.  In my notes from a class I took from Dr. Pfatteicher a couple of summers ago I wrote the following: "First three Sundays: How do you know Jesus will return?  The answer is given on the last Sunday:  He came the first time. We should think of Bethlehem as a guarantee of the fulfillment of His coming."  The best way to understand Advent is in terms of the fulfillment of prophesies.  Thus, we know that at the end of time we can also be sure that all the prophesies of that time will also be fulfilled.  It's a completion of the whole story. Past, present and future are collapsed and made a single whole.  Advent reorients our sense of time.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

vicarbob

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2012, 09:47:23 PM »
When I came to the congregation 4 years ago as Pastoral Vicar the first thing that I "corrected" was the signing of Christmas Hymns during the Advent Season.....there was initial resistance, after all previous called pastors allowed the practice.
This year the Advent Season has taken on an additional understanding as what anticipation, preparation, repentance and hope means......as we prepare for the possible last Christmas/Epiphany in our church building.
Pax
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Coach-Rev

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2012, 10:51:55 AM »

Instead of the 12 days of Christmas, we now celebrate 35-36 days of Christmas until January 6 -- not far behind the shopping centers.

You need to get your facts straight - most church-goers end the Christmas season Dec.  25...  (insert wink or roll-eyes, depending on how you want to view this...)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2012, 10:58:50 AM »

Isn't Christmas what we are preparing for though?  Is it not why we remember our sinfulness in penitence as we look in hope towards Christ's incarnation?


       Obviously we are doing things during Advent to prepare for our keeping of Christmas in our homes and in our congregations.  It is also true that Advent devotional materials for children do focus on the Christmas story and serve as a count down to our Christmas celebrations.  However, many years ago I came to the conclusion that the primary focus of Advent is that the one who came into this world as one of us, and who comes to us through Word and Sacraments and the fellowship of his people, will come again to judge the living and the dead.  With that in mind, read through our traditional Advent hymns and the lectionary readings for the Sundays in Advent.  I think you may come to agree with me that the Advent call to repentance and hope is to prepare us for and to guide us to look toward the second coming of Our Lord.

Yesterday we had a group study of Luke 3:7-18. John isn't preparing the people for the birth of a cute baby in a manger, but for the "coming wrath". Have we lost this aspect of Jesus' coming: at Christmas, in the sacraments, at the end time? John's picture of Jesus in that text is one of judgment and separation. It should terrorize our consciences -- although we can't leave them terrorized. There is a means of salvation from the coming wrath.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]