There is a chalk board in the Trinity House dining room with a message that changed from "Happy Birthday!" to "Happy Advent One!" yesterday. Given more board space for accuracy, it should have read something like "Happy first Sunday of Advent", but in a house full of seminary students, "advent one" is effective enough.
In a culture of instant gratification, the building anticipation of the advent season does not come naturally. With our iPhones, iPads, Kindles and iBrains, we tend to focus on what we can have now rather than on what we can eagerly expect, but must wait for. Yet, if we keep our appetite at bay and allow ourselves to feel the hunger rumblings grow, the satisfaction of the arrival of the Savior will be that much more delighted in. (This doesn't help to dispel accusations of Christian cannibalism, I know.)
In this first week, one can feel the tension of waiting begin with the singing of Advent hymns. Yesterday, in chapel, we sang "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" and I was particularly struck by the words of the last verse:
Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!
With these words, let us be inspired with hunger and expectancy for the Peace that we long for, and that is to us promised.