Monday, November 22, 2010

Do you fast for Advent?

Food for thought from Fr. Stephen.

5 comments:

Bryan Owen said...

As always, Fr. Stephen offers profound Christian wisdom. Thanks for sharing the link.

A while back, I posted something in response to hearing clergy colleagues insist that there's nothing penitential about Advent. It's entitled, "Is Advent a Penitential Season?"

The Archer of the Forest said...

Well, all you have to do is a 5 minute google search of the history of Advent, and you understand why its traditionally violet in liturgical color like Lent is purple. They were both originally periods of fasting and repentance before the coming of the King (the incarnation and the resurrection).

I will grant that asking parishioners to fast or do a "Lent like thing" is nearly impossible these days. Secular Christmas begins at Thanksgiving (or these days after Halloween) and goes until December 25, at which point all the Christmas stuff disappears overnight.

I know clergy who honestly have no clue that Christmas is 12 days, only beginning on the 25th of December. I've resigned myself to the de facto truth that Western Christianity has lost the battle of secular Christmas and Advent is basically non-existent for most parishioners in any meaningful sense. I still keep it in common life as best I can, but honestly, it feels like a hopeless cause.

The Archer of the Forest said...

That's a very good article, by the way, Fr. Owen. I recommend it to other readers.

Bryan Owen said...

Thanks for the kind words about my Advent blog posting.

I've resigned myself to the de facto truth that Western Christianity has lost the battle of secular Christmas and Advent is basically non-existent for most parishioners in any meaningful sense.

Sadly, I find myself in the same place on this. It does, indeed, feel like "a hopeless cause." I suppose the best we can do is continue being faithful in the increasingly counter-cultural practices and beliefs of the liturgical/sacramental Anglican way.

TLF+ said...

The "Christmas season" (ends promptly after dinner on 12/25)is so spiritually vacant, even in the churches. At best, we get a prolonged pep rally of traditional hymns in the mall - a worst, an orgy of treacly movies and consumerism.

Advent is our best season to go head to head with the "Bible Prophecy" and "End Times" churches. When we cave to the secular "Christmas Season," we wind up ignoring these issues and our folks go out and read "Left Behind" books or take up the equally silly "We're Episcopalians, we're too smart to talk about that sort of thing."

The first Sunday after Christmas (rightly called "Christmas Season") gets to the meaning of Christ's birth, with John's prologue and especially 1:14. Of course that tends to be a "low Sunday" attendance-wise. But when we cave to the secular season we wind up with a warm story about a baby upon whom we can project our warmer experiences.

Bless you, good Frs., for keeping up the counter-cultural (e.g. pro-Kingdom) resistance!