Sally writes: “Imagine a complex, multi-cultural society that annually holds an elaborate winter festival, one that lasts not simply a few days, but several weeks. This great festival celebrates the birth of the Lord and Saviour of the world, the prince of peace, a man who is divine. People mark the festival with great abundance- feasting, drinking and gift giving…..” (Richard Horsley- The Liberation of Christmas)

The passage goes on, recounting the decorations that are hung, and the songs and dances that accompany the festival, how the economy booms and philanthropic acts abound….

But this is not Christmas- this is a Roman festival in celebration of the Emperor….This is the world that Jesus was born into! The world where the early Christians would ask “Who is your Saviour the Emperor or Christ?”

And yet our shops and stores and often our lives are caught up in a world that looks very much like the one of ancient Rome, where we worship at the shrine of consumerism….

Advent on the other hand calls us into the darkness, a time of quiet preparation, a time of waiting, and re-discovering the wonder of the knowledge that God is with us. Advent’s call is to simplicity and not abundance, a time when we wait for glorious light of God to come again…

Christ is with us at this time of advent, in the darkness, and Christ is coming with his light- not the light of the shopping centre, but the light of love and truth and beauty.

What do you long for this advent? What are your hopes and dreams for the future? What is your prayer today?
In the vein of simplicity I ask you to list five advent longings….

1. That the Church would learn to be the peacemakers that the Prince of Peace commanded us to be.

2. That the love of Christ will overcome the hate done in Christ’s name.

3. That I would be open to how Christ wants me to love others and be a peacemaker where I live.

4. That the poor in the US would be taken care of instead of abandoned to bail out the rich.

5. That I would continue to become more Christlike and trust that God will enable me to do what she has called me to do.