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Advent Snuck Up On Me! [Day 1]

Advent Snuck Up On Me! [Day 1]

It was an honor to be asked to be the first one to write for the EVERYDAY EXILES CHRISTMAS PROJECT. It was not the best feeling, however, that after taking the holiday off of email, to open my inbox on December 2nd to realize that I had already missed the deadline! Good googa mooga.

Maybe I’m not the only one that advent has snuck up on.

Maybe you are like me and you were at church yesterday and the worship folks sang Christmas songs and you were like “What? It’s Christmas time already?”

Advent is an ancient Christian tradition. The word, advent, is derived from the word, adventus, which simply means “coming.” Over the course of Christian history that coming has meant many things.

Originally, the season had little to do with celebrating Christ’s birth. It was, as far as scholars can tell, connected to the liturgical season of preparation for baptism that started in January and lasted forty days. (In that case, this post is not late at all!)

Around the sixth century, Advent began to morph into being about preparation for Christ’s second coming, not his first.

It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that Advent got connected to Christmas. Finally, in the second part of the twentieth century, Advent took on the meaning that it has today: the Sunday after Black Friday when it’s OK to listen to Christmas music twenty-four-seven and not be looked at funny.

In all seriousness, Advent never was one thing or another. Instead, Advent has always been a season. In that way, it is a period a time that in many ways perfectly embodies what it means to be on this earth. It is a time to ponder what Christ has not only done but is also going to do.

Christ came. Christ died. Christ rose. Christ will return. In similar fashion, you came. You sinned. You were forgiven. You will live forever with him.

In both cases we live between. We celebrate what has been done; we await what is to come. In the meantime, we live in the freedom of the promise and the reality that it has not yet all come about. In a word; it’s hope.

That is advent. It’s a short season that reminds us of where we are always. It’s a remembering and a preparing at the same time. It is a season that teaches us how to hope well (and to listen to Christmas music twenty-four-seven and not be looked at funny).

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Ned Erickson

Ned is the Founder and Executive Director of the Winston-Salem Fellows, a non-profit dedicated to equipping people to live seamless lives as they grow into the men and women they were created to be. He is the author of four books, including the critically acclaimed novel Clay. He, his wife, two children, dogs, rabbit, guinea pig, turtle, and chickens live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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