Reflection by Randall Curtis
I am like many Americans—an easily excitable consumer. I am certain that Internet ad companies love me. I love finding the new restaurant, listening to the new song, watching the new show and finding the new internet meme. When a squirrel jumps across the path where my dog and I often walk, I am the person who agrees with my dog (at least initially) and thinks chasing the squirrel is a really fun idea. I write this with a confessing heart, but I also know that I am not alone.
In a world that is filled more and more every day with tempting distractions, like cell phones, tech gifts, and pop-up advertisements everywhere, it is easy to fall into the trap of trying to consume the newest trend. It is easy, in the race to keep up with it all while worrying about what we might be missing, to spend the day jumping from new excitement to new excitement, from new worry to new worry.
In the first reading of Advent we are told to, “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life.” These distractions are the new “drunkenness and worries of this life,” which means that as we prepare for Christmas and God breaking into the world, we will have to make sure we look up from our phones to see it.
This Advent can be a time to prepare for Christmas by stopping the drunken consumption of the newest thing. To put our phones down and stop the worry that is only a notification away.
Then we can ask ourselves:
• What am I missing when I get distracted by “the new”?
• Am I giving more than I am taking from the world?
• How can I be on “guard” against all the ways the insatiable quest for the new sneaks up on me?
• Are there others in my community who need something basic that I could provide, yet might not see in my quest to discover the latest and greatest?
• How can I offer generosity toward my fellow human beings rather than mindlessly taking what the world offers, only a tap or swipe away?
• How can I be more generous to my family, friends, and community as I prepare for the coming of Christ into the world?
Advent is the perfect time to explore how we might give more of ourselves on behalf of God in the world, and how that generosity might be the perfect antidote to being “anxiously drunk.” One way we can “be on guard” is to ask and answer questions like these together. I hope you’ll join me.
Follow along with us this Advent season with our daily devotional and engage in discussion in our closed facebook group moderated by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner & The Rev. Jan Kwiatowski.
In this group, participants will have a chance to share their responses to the prompts in the daily readings, and also the chance to receive additional material for reflection.