Monday, December 20, 2010

On Advent

Yesterday, Joni attended The Encounter (contemporary) service at our church while I was out listening to Ed Stetzer. They've been doing an advent candle and devotional as part of worship, and yesterday there was a reading from C.S. Lewis' essay* "Xmas and Christmas: A Last Chapter from Herodotus." The essay is a good read so I wanted to recommend it; here's an excerpt:

And they buy as gifts for one another such things as no man ever bought for himself. For the sellers, understanding the custom, put forth all kinds of trumpery, and whatever, being useless and ridiculous, they have been unable to sell throughout the year they now sell as an Exmas gift. And though the Niatirbians profess themselves to lack sufficient necessary things, such as metal, leather, wood and paper, yet an incredible quantity of these things is wasted every year, being made into the gifts.

We've been doing this daily Advent devotional as a family, hanging an Advent ornament on a tree each day. It's been a nice reminder that the entirety of OT Scripture points us toward the coming of Christ (Luke 24:25-27). It's been fun thinking through how to do Christmas as a family, what values we want it to display in our home and what we want gifts to mean. (It's made it more fun for me this year.)

*update*: Joni informs me I have the wrong C.S. Lewis essay. This is the correct one, "What Christmas Means to Me." He more plainly condemns the commercialism. Here is an excerpt:

"We are told that the whole dreary business must go on because it is good for trade. It is in fact merely one annual symptom of that lunatic condition of our country, and indeed of the world, in which everyone lives by persuading everyone else to buy things. I don't know the way out. But can it really be my duty to buy and receive masses of junk every winter just to help the shopkeepers? If the worst comes to the worst I'd sooner give them money for nothing and write it off as a charity. For nothing? Why, better for nothing than for a nuisance."

I like that paragraph.

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