If there is one thing I hate, it’s being put into a box. This does make things difficult for me, however, as far as “demographics” and “audience” categories go. It makes it difficult for me to exploit the obvious key words I might use to get more readers or put myself on a track toward publication…which is more than okay by me. I don’t mind living just outside the norm. I like the idea that my readership would include a small but weird range of people rather than a large but homogenous group. No offense to the large but homogenous groups out there, truly.
I will never make apology for my faith or for my writings about it…I may apologize, however, for the countless number of chuckleheads littering the airwaves who claim kinship with me in the Christian family. That much I would do.
This post isn’t really about Christianity today although it is about Advent.
As you have seen in my posts this month so far, I am in the midst of celebrating the time that comes before Christmas. This season, called Advent is a time of waiting, being hopeful, it’s the time that comes that last month before a child is born.
The post today is for those of you in my readership who do not consider yourself a part of a faith tradition. I’ll caution my Christian readership right now that it is in no way evangelical. It has no hidden agenda for my non christian friends. It has only love. Unbounded and unrestrained love.
We all, regardless of our faith affiliations have experienced this time of waiting. I certainly don’t own “waiting,” I don’t own the ability to foster hope in a time of darkness. I contend that this season is for all of us, regardless of affiliation, or lack thereof. This is why today I thought about the what advent is like for atheists.
The first response I’d imagine would be “non-existent” I suppose. For an atheist there is no season of Advent. And yet, then I had this other thought…bear with me, it’s a little wacky…surprise, surprise.
Maybe all seasons, all holidays affect us, speak into us, inform and edify us…whether we observe them or not.
For example, I’m a Christian, so is there a season of Rosh Hashana for me? I mean to say that just because I don’t observe the holidays…the season…does that mean it does not manifest at ALL in my life? If we live in a multicultural and diverse nation (and I guess we do for the most part) then the reality is that all seasons touch my life in some way or another.
I’m so tempted to branch out here, let this stream of consciousness flow into a mighty tributary and move into a rant about the “stand” Christians might take against halloween or some other such thing but I won’t. I’m keeping my boat solidly in the “love” category and steering away from judgement. I think that’s the path with the least overhanging trees and clearest water at this point in my life.
Where were we? Oh yes. Clear water. Advent for atheists.
I don’t know a whole lot of atheists so I can’t say for sure how they’d respond and I am not certain the atheists who’d read me would take my advice to heart but I’m going to say it anyway. I’m offering you Advent.
Take this time, friends…to wait, to be hopeful, to be intentional. This season is not only for those remembering and reliving the wait for the Messiah. This season is for us all because in the end aren’t we ALL waiting for something? At the core of us as humans are not we ALL waiting for some kind of salvation?
from a bad experience, from a hard situation…
waiting for some kind of rescue?
from a damaging relationship, from a self fulfilling prophecy…
waiting for some kind hope?
for an end to loneliness, for a new start…
waiting for some kind of reformation?
to our injured hearts, to our stagnant thinking…
I’d contend this season of Advent is for us all…this “arrival” may not carry the specific name I assign to it, the name I assign as “Messiah” and that’s okay. We all need something as the year ends, the economy having beat us up, the fractured politics of the world and the country and the family having taken it’s toll…think about what you need, what you desire, what you hope for going into 2011…and breathe in that space, waiting for the arrival of the new, of the not yet.
Live there a little this week as the holidays course around us all…live in that hope of the new and the not yet.