Saturday, December 05, 2009

Should we celebrate Advent (or Christmas)

Note: I originally posted this as a response to a blog by Mark Roberts. He wrote on the question Is Advent Biblical? I would suggest that you read his post. He writes very well. I decided to re-post my response on my blog because I think it explains well why I'm not all keen on this season, Advent as well as Christmas.

Whether Advent is biblical, is not my concern. Certainly, it is based in the very biblical goals that you ask us to consider. All things, including Advent, and for that matter Christmas, are permissible.

However, I wonder how beneficial it is for the church to celebrate this season. I include Christmas as we currently celebrate it, particularly by demanding that the money takers take our money in the most religious was.

This whole season is a distraction. I don't know of a single family in my church that will spend more time focused on the elements of Advent that you talk about as good, instead use the Advent season to focus on material things. Celebrating Advent as a church encourages Open Season for materialism.

I say this as one who as a pastor to children. There is almost no way to spend Advent focused on Jesus. Advent, by its nature, focuses on the minor things of the scriptures, not the coming of the Savior. Sure Jesus is the consistent thread of the Advent season, but he because a minor player as we spend the month focus on Mary and donkeys, Joseph, Wise Men and Angels. Camels usually take a bigger role that Jesus. Even Jesus is caricature during this season. We talk a lot about a baby, but our link to the Jesus that died for our sins is usually lost in making Jesus God's gift to us. It is true that Jesus is a gift to us, but the way it plays out in the way we do Advent and Christmas is that Jesus is just another gift like the many we will rush out to buy after our worship service.

Sure Advent is permissible. There are many noble reasons for celebrating the season. Unfortunately, Advent and Christmas are not beneficial. Sure, you can name the half dozen people you know that turned to Christ in this season, but consider how many turn away from him and turn toward minor issues of faith or toward worldly matters.