Here comes Black Friday, even earlier than usual. Bell-ringers are appearing outside stores. Advertisers are shifting the consumerism-as-therapy machine into high gear. And Christians say: This is a good time to think about the world falling apart.
We're not trying to be morose. We're starting Advent.
The season of Advent (four Sundays preceding Christmas) traditionally begins, not with backward-looking remembrances of circumstances surrounding Jesus' birth, but with eerie images of cosmic mutations and grand promises of a future in which Jesus plays -- to put it mildly -- a noticeable role. Don't wear the tacky Christmas sweater just yet; track shoes and a hazmat suit may capture the mood better.
Advent's watchwords are preparation and waiting. It's about looking outward and ahead. It's time for Christians to declare that God's previous incursion into human affairs through Jesus Christ is not the end of the story but the foundation for a future hope of God bringing ultimate promises to fruition.
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