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I've asked a cross-section of Anchorage pastors to comment upon Advent as an Antidote for Acquisitiveness or Consumerism. The next pastor featured is Pastor Martin Dasler of Amazing Grace Lutheran Church.
Observing Advent as a separate season has preserved many people in the church from getting overwhelmed in the materialistic gift buying and selling of the pre-Christmas season. The season of Advent enjoys a natural rhythm of anticipation that every child with a birthday knows quite well. Certain events as well as time must come to pass before the celebration takes place. Capitalizing on this the church has told Bible stories filled with interesting characters, (John, Mary, and Elizabeth ), sprinkled with the rich imagination of prophets ( Isaiah, Malachi and Zephaniah). One Sunday they are called a “Brood of Vipers” and the next week people are bursting into songs of joyful anticipation like Mary and John’s father Zachariah. All have their part in the great pre-Christmas drama.
In many congregations the color of Advent is blue, the color of hope, not only reflecting Mary’s color, but the witness of Isaiah who reminded us that “the people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light”. I also like the way Advent serves as a counterpoint to a culture which wants everything “on demand” and seems incapable of denying itself anything. For many in the church this has become a favorite time of the year. It is the blessed anticipation of longing and waiting at the door until “the fullness of time” has come. Out in the shopping world good deals are now referred to as “door busters”. The church would prefer that we wait in peace, quiet, and contemplation trusting that the door will open at the right time. The philosopher, mathematician and theologian Blaise Pascal wrote:
"All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
I would add “...and wait”.