Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advent Drama

The other day, while watching the Sopranos, oddly enough, I thought of yet another image or illustration for the themes of the season of Advent. Advent is dramatic. Not in the manner of teenage girls hyped up on nail polish fumes, reading Twilight books all while listening to Justin Bieber. But rather in the artful fashion of a suspenseful, drama film. What is the one thing that makes a movie dramatic? The music. It's the dramatic music that holds the viewer in tension throughout the movie (good writers,such as Lewis, Tolkien, Rowling, Riordan and Suzanne Collins - among many others - do a similar thing with pace and language, creating suspense in the imagination where movies use other senses). The music keeps you on the edge of your seat, waiting and anticipating what comes next. Who's around the corner? What's going to happen? When will the plot unfold? How will the story end? That's Advent. Dramatic. Suspenseful. Expectant. And just like the movies, although in a far greater way, Advent has some of the best hymns around. The music helps set the tension - He came, He comes, He will come again. Who is coming? Jesus. What's going to happen? A new heavens and a new earth...the resurrection of the dead and the life everlasting. How will the story end? Read the book of Revelation for a glimpse: An eternal Divine Service surrounding the Lamb and His feast; palm branches waving; incense wafting in prayer and thanksgiving and the saints bowed down in endless praise.When? Soon. Rejoice, Rejoice Believers! The Night Will Soon Be Ending! Lift Up Your Heads You Mighty Gates. So, enjoy the hymns of Advent for they prepare us to welcome the Advent of our King as we celebrate his first coming in the flesh and as He prepares us for His second coming in glory by means of His advent in bread, wine, water and word.

Your Zion strews before You, Green boughs and fairest palms;
And I too will adore You With joyous songs and psalms.
My heart shall bloom forever For You with praises new
And from Your name shall never with-hold the honor due.


  1. Another thing about the drama and anticipation of Advent is that it makes Heaven desirable. I know when we hear the word "Heaven" we automatically think of paradise, but when we look at what the Bible actually says there is often something almost like fear or revulsion. The idea of completely letting go of pride or of a world in which the only marriage is between God and His Church is very hard to desire unless you are very far along in your relationship with God. Another thing that I find difficult about wanting Heaven is the issue of eternity; on the one hand if that just means time as I experience it now without end then I can't help but suspect I would become bored, but when I think of the alternative in which I somehow experience all of time together in what Lewis described as an "unbounded 'now'" I respond almost with panic. We are too accustomed to the pleasures of the present world to understand how we might leave them behind for greater ones, and we are too settled in the nature of that same world to grasp life outside its limitations. However, in prophetic whispers and joyful music we are able to detect something of the raw goodness of the Kingdom without confronting the stumbling blocks of our own mind. It's hard to enjoy the message of what it will look like when we are in the very presence of God, but it is even harder not to delight in being told we will be drawn lovingly into that presence.

  2. well said, my friend. Thanks for reading. And thanks for your comments. By the way, where does Lewis talk about the unbounded now? I am having one of those reader's blocks right now.

  3. It's in "The Screwtape Letters" when Screwtape is talking about how God experiences reality.

  4. ah, of course...I was just listening to that audio book - the version with John Cleese reading - the other day shortly after I asked the question. Thanks again!