I used to be a real stickler. No Christmas carols until Christmas. “Advent” isn’t “Christmas“. Liturgically and theologically, this makes sense. But the congregational groans and complaints were overwhelming. Over the years something has happened to me.
I don’t feel that I have succumbed to external pressures. Rather, I have acknowledged an inner hunger. There are more important things than being “right” liturgically. This is not a criticism of those who pursue such theological correctness. It is only to say that deep within myself I feel the yearning for the birthing of the Christ to have greater sway in my life. Advent doesn’t seem to work for me in terms of preparing me for the celebration of “Incarnation” (a good theological word!). I find I am better prepared for the celebration of Christmas on December 25 if I am living Christmas now. The world needs to see the reality of Jesus’ love and forgiveness in action – here and now. Perhaps others need to wait; I need to “taste and see” today (Psalm 34:8).
So … I listen to the Advent / Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah. And the Christmas Oratorio of Heinrich Schutz. And Christmas Carols. And almost any Christmas song I can get my ears around (with the possible exception of Feliz Navidad). It’s not the “waiting” I celebrate; it’s the way the Christ is in action today – in me, through me, and all around me.
Lord – perhaps we have spent too much time “waiting”. Help us have the faith we need and the courage it takes to live the message of Jesus today.
If you want to hear the entire “Messiah” of Handel – here it is – even the “Easter” portion (for those who can’t wait!).
Have a blessed Tuesday.