Saturday, December 6, 2014
Saturday Sermonette - Advent: Why?
Why celebrate Advent? After all, we're pretty sure that it wasn't in December that Jesus was born. There were shepherds in the fields--multiple shepherds. The theological guess is that it was the time of year for lambing--early spring. Probably sometime between February and April.
The early Christian church took a tip from Paul's hat when he said, "I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." (1 Corinthians 9:22b) They took one of the local celebrations (of Saturnalia) in honor of the Roman god, Saturn.
Saturnalia was a joyous time of giving gifts, visiting friends and family, and of letting their slaves have a day of leisure while the masters served the servants.
Rather than order the Christians to refrain from the holiday their neighbors celebrated, the Church added one for the Christians, that of celebrating the birth of Christ, of giving to the needy and to loved ones, and of serving others.
So--are we celebrating Saturnalia, in actuality? Don't know about you, but I'm not. I am overjoyed that Jesus was born into this world. I love giving to the needy--in fact, my gifts to our family are usually on the order of donations to a charity that they might be happy to give to.
So why celebrate Advent? Because our Lord was born, if not on this date. Because He gave the ultimate gift. Because it reminds me I'm not the reason for the season.
How about you? What are your thoughts?