Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Advent Reading from Duke

Yesterday I received a small Advent devotional from Duke. One of the guys I went to school with wrote one of the devotionals. It is based on Mark 1:1-8. Here's what he wrote...

Perhaps nothing distinguishes the church's observance of Advent from the world's celebration of the holidays more than the person of John the Baptist. An exchange of season's greeting cards bearing the figure of Saint John dressed in camel skin with a mouthful of honey-dripped wild locusts would bring a chill to any office party. Even so, the church spends half of the Sundays of Advent considering this man and his message of repentance and self denial. John the Baptist is the one who is NOT. He is NOT the prophet. He is NOT Elijah, Not the light. He is NOT the Messiah whose sandals he is not worthy to untie. John the Baptist represents the spirit of Advent; he prepares the way of the Lord by way of self-negation.

In some Christian traditions, Advent and Lent share the same liturgical colors. The reason for this is that Advent used to be a season of fasting and penitence, a little Lent. Both Advent and Lent share the same logic: "I must decrease that he might increase." Only by joining with John the Baptist in his "I am NOT" do we make way for the coming of the great "I AM." By emptying ourselves, we make room for the supreme gift that is Jesus Christ.
- Edgardo Colon-Emeric