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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Sunday, December 06, 2009

What's the Point of Advent?

"It's Advent again. And if anyone cares about Advent, Americans should. Advent may have more to do with American life than any other season of the year. Yet, Advent remains the period of spiritual preparation that is too often least appreciated, little understood and commonly ignored.

One of the problems with Advent is that it gets swallowed up by Christmas. The truth is, of course, that Advent signals the coming of Christmas. But the kind of Christmas the liturgical period of Advent is meant to signal is not the Christmas we celebrate in the United States. Civil Christmas is about the storing up of things. The Christmas to which Advent points is about being emptied out so we can become full.

Advent is about the spirituality of emptiness, of enough-ness, of stripped-down fullness of soul. Advent points to the essentials of life; commercial Christmas points to its superfluities.The two great liturgical seasons of the church year, Advent and Lent, are about very different things. Advent is not "a little Lent." Advent is not a penitential period. Advent comes to trigger consciousness, not to provoke our consciences.

The Talmud teaches that every person should wear a jacket with two pockets. In the one pocket, the rabbis say, there should be a note that reads, "I am a worm and not completely human." And in the second pocket, the rabbis say, the note must read, "For me the universe was made."The story is clear: The function of Lent is to remind us who we are--and who we are not. The function of Advent, on the other hand, is to remind us who God is and who we are meant to be, as well. Advent is about the riches of emptiness."

Joan Chittister from an article in The National Catholic Reporter, 12/12/03


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