"Why Advent?" That's how Luther Seminary's professor of preaching, Karoline Lewis, began her weekly reflection this week. And as we start a brand new church year today, "why Advent?" is our question too. What does this season mean since we've been buying giant Christmas inflatables of Santa with a jetpack and the droids from Star Wars wishing us a Merry Christmas since before Halloween? 

It's easy to skip to Christmas because so much of our schedules are devoted to what's coming: holiday concerts at school, scheduling trips to visit family and friends, buying special gifts, and digging through our piles of boxes finding that one with the Christmas star for the tree. Christmas is coming. We all know it is. And we all have a to-do list a mile long to make our Christmas happen. 

But God's Christmas has happened. Jesus already showed up in a manger. We might think December 25th is a month away but the Christ-event, from birth to Cross to Resurrection, is part of our reality. Advent is not a season where we're preparing for Christmas. Advent is a season where we are honest about our world and our lives. We live our lives in a paradox. Christ has come and Christ is coming. We are claimed by God but still living into God's unfolding future. God loves us but we still struggle with what that love means. Advent is four weeks where we are honest about the brokenness of our reality and our lives. And Advent is four weeks where we proclaim that God enters into our brokenness because that's just who God is.  So "why Advent?" Because we're still here, living broken lives in a broken world, and living into God's promise that we are loved anyways.