Looking forward to Advent

I’ve had mixed feelings about Advent and Christmas for years. Everyone’s happy and I get more melancholy. There are expectations of great love and great presents and great programs, and I feel inadequate.

But several years ago, I began to understand that spending time in preparation can help us handle seasons of expectation with wisdom and grace. A little more anyway.

Several years ago, I wrote an Advent reader.  It looked at the mixture of fear and hope and anticipation in the lives of people as Jesus first appeared.

As I started thinking about Advent this year, about a season of preparation for Christmas, I wanted to write something new. Writing is how I think. And in the reflection, I started to think about food.

That’s obvious, right?

bonnie doon.We talk about eating too much during the holidays. In fact, I’ve spent much of the year dealing with what happened last year.

And food can be a scary thing. I have several friends sorting through food allergies right now, deciding what can help them and what can hurt them.

But I realized that food, or better, meals, is a powerful way to reflect on anticipation and preparation. Having food, not having food, having meals, having community – all of these are deep in our hearts. And there are food images, meal images, all through the Bible. From good and bad food choices in the Garden, to feasts in front of enemies in Psalm 23 to vegetarian choices in Daniel to a wedding feast at the end of time.

Starting November 30, at 300 we’re going to celebrate Advent by looking at the stories of meals around Jesus.

I’d love to have you start thinking now, to anticipate our conversation about anticipation. So answer this question if you would: What’s the best meal you ever had?

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I’m suggesting a helping project around Advent as well: Advent Diapers.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

3 thoughts on “Looking forward to Advent

  1. That’s a hard question. The best tasting food I ever ate…a steak that cost me $35 in 1995 jumps out at me–best steak I ever had, worth every penny. Several sandwiches, have been pretty good. Anything eaten when very hungry is always a wonderful meal, as is a meal cooked by someone else when I’m tired. But the very best meal is always Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner–every one of them except one, for my whole life. Except for the year that my husband wanted to have Thanksgiving at our house, and then took the kids to his brother’s and filled himself and them clear up while I was home cooking all alone, every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner has been spent with family. My family, husband’s family, extended family. More often than not I’ve been at my mom’s, or my grandmother’s before she died. My grandmother and I cooked dinner with the help of anyone who wanted to pitch in. (Now I cook with usually one or both of my daughters, anyone who wants still pitches in.) We start the day before and make pies. Huge numbers of pies. 15 or 20 quite often. We cook all day Thanksgiving or Christmas day. The menu changes very little if at all. As many family members come as can possibly be there, and we bring along distant cousins or coworkers or friends or whoever we run across who has nowhere to go. No matter how many people are eating (up to about 38 one year, I think,) there are tables with white clothes, cloth napkins, china and crystal and silver, and everyone sits, prays, then passes the food around the table. Kids eat at the kids’ table (as the oldest child and grandchild, I’ve been at the adult table for a long time now!) This year my mom may not remember how to make pie crust. But last year my youngest daughter learned. So if Gram’s doesn’t come out quite right, Hannah’s will be there to back her up. There will be some crying children, some arguing adults, some spills, and even the occasionally not quite done turkey. There will be burned rolls or that green salad nobody is going to eat and football so loud nobody can talk. There will be kids hiding so they don’t have to do dishes, and there will be a fight over the wishbone. And there will be the spirits of those who have gone before us in the traditions and in the faces around the table, and the Holy Spirit spreading blessings over the assembly. The best meals I’ve ever had were the ones where Love was on the menu.

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