I love my technology. I love social media. We have new ways of communication that were previously only the domain of science fiction writers. Yet with every gain, there comes loss. One notable loss seems to be in our inability to let any story play out. It is easier than ever for us to fall prey to half-truths and outright lies simply because they are presented in a compelling visual form.
Along with this, technologycontinues to speed up our lives. One consequence of this is that it becomes harder and harder for us to imagine a world any different from the one that is. We put all of our energies into trying to cram as much activity into as little time as possible.
Advent is the Church’s New Year. New Year’s is always a time of new prospects and new possibilities. However, it is hard to discover these new prospects and possibilities while we are simply trying to keep up with a world moving at an ever increasing speed.
Advent invites us to slow down. The contemporary themes for the four weeks of Advent are hope, love, joy, and peace. None of these are properly experienced, or even experienced at all, at breakneck speeds. Love, joy, and peace are found as part of the Fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. If we look at the rest of that list we find, “patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
These, too, are qualities that speak of a life that is not in a hurry. Too often, we are encouraged to live a life that is marked by what we do. Advent encourages us to live lives that are marked by who we are and how we relate to one another.
Advent is also the time when the Church traditionally looks forward to the return of Christ. Some seem to want to find ways to speed this up. Yet we are asked to live in this future reality now, and not worry ourselves over times and dates.
We sing “Joy to the World.” Too often, this hymn gets classified with our Christmas music, yet Advent is its proper season.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing. Joy to the earth, the Saviour reigns! Let all their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy
Joy to the earth, the Saviour reigns. As Bishop Don stated in his pastoral letter following the shootings in Ottawa, “This is still God’s world.” This always has been and always will be God’s world. Advent invites us to slow down, ponder, and reflect on how this world could be different if we embraced the fact that “This is still God’s world.”
Donald McKenzie is the incumbent at St. Philip’s, Norwood