Tonight is Drew Theological School's service of Lessons and Carols. The Seminary Choir is performing a couple pieces, there is going to be a really neat processional...and a very nice dinner beforehand. The whole university, along with Theological School alumni, is invited, and within an hour Seminary Hall will be overflowing with students, parents, alumni, faculty, and staff. It's a fun and festive way of contextualizing the Advent season (and a great break from coursework!) Life in Seminary Hall stops for this one event in which the community gathers to proclaim Christ's coming to earth.
The Christmas season is a funny time for me. I'm never quite ready for it. It's almost as if I am desensitized to it. We see Christmas decorations earlier and earlier every year - always before Thanksgiving and sometimes even before Halloween! I also never feel like I can sit down and adequately put myself in the right frame of mind. I want to prepare - to sit and meditate and cultivate the proper seasonal attitude of grateful and joyful expectation. But, Life is Happening: papers are being written, presents are being bought (though usually at the last minute), concerts and parties are happening...and then boom! Christmas happens, and it's over, and life goes on.
But....wasn't this the way the first Christmas happened? Sure, there were the prophets and the signs of Christ's coming but in reality, who really paid attention? People were busy doing other things, not paying attention to the events of a small backwater province of the Roman Empire. Christmas sneaked right in there. Boom. Christmas happened, and life went on...but the future was forever changed.
I'm not advocating that one should ignore Advent for the sake of shopping, Christmas festivities, and other such happy occasions (even if they don't put us in the "Christmas Spirit"). I think that instead we should be focused on the aftermath of Christmas. Christmas is about more than just Jesus being born...it's about God coming down to intermingle with our earthly reality, and bringing us hope for the future. We need to live as if our futures have been changed...or rather, we need to live as if this hope for the future has the power to transform our current reality.
Ok, so I realize that perhaps reading Moltmann got to me a bit (we just read him for eschatology...), so I apologize for wandering off into the land of Systematic Theology....and this post really is wandering. But heck. It's my blog, I can do whatever I want. So, I hope you enjoy it even though it is a glimpse into my near-the-end-of-the-semester-yet-so-much-more-to-go mind... :-)