I’ve asked a cross-section of Anchorage pastors to comment upon Advent as an Antidote for Acquisitiveness or Consumerism. Our next pastor featured is Pastor Carlo Rapanut, United Methodist Church of Chugiak.
Advent provides an alternative to the commercialism that has come to define the holidays. It calls us to a time of waiting. It is a time of preparation, calling us to focus on what we truly celebrate during Christmas – the birth of Christ.
More than just a countdown to Christmas, the progressive lighting of candles on an Advent wreath give us themes meant to light our way through the season. We are called to HOPE. And it’s not just hoping for gifts under the tree. Advent calls us to dig deep within and name what it is our hearts are truly hoping for. I am writing this as I pray for a colleague in ministry who was severely injured in a car accident recently. I name his healing and recovery as one thing my heart truly hopes for this Christmas. We are also called to find PEACE, which is an antithesis to the hustle and bustle of the season. I am also writing this amidst the news of the shooting in an elementary school in Newport, Connecticut. As my mind grapples for answers, my heart looks to God for peace – for all who were directly affected, and for all of us who were impacted by the tragic news. Advent calls us to LOVE, not just to give but to love, realizing that the gift of Christmas is not a shiny new car or the latest phone model, but the love of God wrapped in our own flesh. And we are called to JOY. Advent prepares us, not just for the momentary happiness that comes from material gifts, but to rejoice in celebrating God’s wondrous gift – Jesus, Immanuel, God with us.
The season of Advent not only calls people to say no to the consumerism of the holidays, it also offers a different way of celebrating. Think of the Advent themes as adverbs. Instead of busily, stressfully, expensively and commercially, Advent prepares us to celebrate Christmas hopefully, peacefully, lovingly and joyfully.[img_assist|nid=163056|title=Pastor Carlo Rapanut, United Methodist Church of Chugiak|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=250|height=356]