Historically, advent was a time of fasting and preparation. Fasting allows us to participate in a wholistic body & soul experience as we empty ourselves in preparation to receive and experience life’s most sacred moments. The early church recognized that fasting brought focus, clarity and a purposefulness. It deepens the experience of grandeur and richness that is only brought about by the arrival of the King.
However, in Western culture we know Advent no longer as a time of emptying and purposefulness but rather as an extension of Christmas itself (and chocolate calendars). It has become a time of excess before the excess. Rich and decadent appetizers before the big meal.
The result is that we’re finding ourselves sitting down to a grand banquet, already filled to the brim with no room for the true feast. We’ve picked and sampled and tasted the things of the world so much and for so long that we have no room left for the only one who can ever truly fill - and fulfill us.
This year, let's return to our roots. By stepping back and intentionally emptying ourselves of the things of this world, the things that take up space in our homes and our calendars, our bellies and ultimately our hearts, we will find ourselves truly hungry. A hunger that can only be satisfied by the one who came and emptied himself on the cross so that we can know real and everlasting joy.
In the face of the excess and empty pursuits of “stuff” this Christmas season, let us fast. Let us make this a time of purposeful emptying and re-focus: a time of making space for the REAL Joy to the World.