I found the following meditation about Advent on the Center for Excellence in Preaching’s website. Challenging words, but helpful in reminding us how to put the “hard” Advent readings into perspective.
First Sunday in Advent, November 30, 2008Gospel Text: Mark 13:24-37
Most people associate Christmas with watchfulness. But to put it mildly, the watchfulness Mark 13 talks about is a far cry from children watching for a glimpse of reindeer in the sky on December 24 or the watchful expectation of children observing their parents putting packages under the Christmas tree and wondering just what might be in a box of that particular size and shape. The month of December may be about expectations and watchfulness but in the popular imagination, what we watch for are happy things: Santa Claus, reindeer, presents, family and friends we’ve not seen for a while pulling into the driveway for a holiday get-together. Advent begins with those passages where Jesus also encourages watchfulness but what he points to would not count as cheery in the minds of most. Jesus points to the end of all things and although believers may regard that return of Jesus as a good, hopeful, and finally comforting reality to which they look forward, many in the world may be simply undone by that return. The church has always insisted that Advent begin not inside a Hallmark card but up on the windswept peak of the Mount of Olives from which Jesus pointed forward to some very ultimate and final things. This is definitely NOT the biblical equivalent of holiday Muzak playing in the background of the mall. But maybe just that has been the church’s point all along—Advent is not supposed to be fluffy and sentimental. Our culture long since forgot that. Has the church?
From here. (emphasis mine)
The CEP website has similar reflections for each Sunday in Advent, following the Year B RCL Lectionary readings. Very very worth a visit. You will probably see us post quite a few of their resources.