In the waning days before the South Shore’s first decent coffee shop opens, I’ve been slumming it at Starbucks. This makes me cringe — both the coffee (they burn it!) and supporting the big box store of java. Fortunately the Redeye Roasters Cafe & Espresso Lounge will be opening this Saturday in walking distance from the church. We’ll finally have an independent coffee shop that both roasts on site and offers a panoramic view of Hingham Harbor. An early Christmas gift!
A few days ago I walked into the local Starbucks and the corporate mandated holiday transformation had just taken place: Christmas music was playing, gifts packs of coffee and holiday-themed mugs were on display, Gingerbread Lattes and Peppermint Mochas were flowing; and their Christmas Blend was brewing.
While listening to a jazzed up version of Jingle Bells I approached the counter and asked for a cup of the “Advent Blend.” Maybe it helped that I was wearing a collar but to his credit the barista didn’t bat an eye and handed over the coffee. I’m happy to order the Christmas Blend during the twelve days of Christmas – which start on Christmas Day — and I’m under no illusion that my small act of civil disobedience matters much. But as Christians, being faithful to the seasons of the Church Year is a spiritual act.
During Advent we can wait; we must wait. Despite the Christmas-Industrial Complex that swirls around us, we’re invited into a period of holy waiting and anticipation. Let the walls of your church this season become a refuge from the madness that surrounds us; a sanctuary from the shopping frenzy and the expectations of others and the guilt and the to-do list driven preparations. As the lights on the Advent wreath build over the next four weeks so does our impending joy. This is a time not of instant gratification but one of sacred loitering, pregnant with possibility and hope.
Yes, we know what the immediate future holds – we’ll soon celebrate the birth of our Savior. But thanks be to God for this counter-cultural gift of waiting and anticipation. Advent blessings to you all.