Thoughts on the Season

Advent is easily my favorite time of the year. I can’t quite explain it, but for many years it has been, with Thanksgiving a very close second. It helps that I start preparing myself for this season immediately following a day for the giving of thanks, and besides, Christ coming to free us from sin is quite a lot to be thankful for.

Then there’s the matter of our own materialistic culture failing to find a means to monetize either season to the extent they have others. Indeed, stores all but ignore Thanksgiving in their rush to get people to spend for Christmas. (I choose not to mention the travesty that is “Black Friday,” or the new abomination of starting from the time of thanks in order to satisfy some greed.)

I guess this reveals how shallow this feeling of thanks truly is in the American psyche. Merely another symptom of the deeper problem I have preached on before; if you have known me long enough, you know my thoughts.

Anyway, Advent. The focus for me is not so much on his first coming, but in anticipation of his second. At least, this is true at the beginning, when the traditional emphasis is on hope and prophecy. Just as the nation of Israel waited for their coming Messiah for centuries, so now we anticipate his coming as king, when he will set all to right and be worshiped. Evil’s grip on this world will finally be broken, and the curse will meet its end.

It’s a time for reflection. Are you prepared for that day? The world was not then, and it is not now. Do not be like the world, but be ready and do God’s work.

Culture Shock

Culture shock can manifest itself in the oddest of places. I have lived in the South all my life, so I am used to the Carolinian/Georgian way of doing things, but for the most part I don’t feel too out-of-place when travelling. Some of this is due to the effect of modernization on different societies (when I landed in Bogota I wasn’t sure if I’d left Atlanta). I don’t even feel out of place in Toronto, although this time around I did notice a few more differences I did not quite pick up on at first.

Visiting Texas for an interview was another matter entirely. The entire trip was a reminder that I was far from home in unfamiliar territory. Even though I am used to life near the ocean, and have worked at a plant on a river, there was much different. I did not figure out the feeder roads while I was there, nor was I sure what to make of the menus at restaurants (missing items I am familiar with), and the way of life I observed during my brief stay there was different enough to make me feel uncomfortable.

What are the odds that I would have more trouble adjusting to a town in “my own” region rather than one on the other side of the continent? Apparently rather high.