Advent is a season of waiting. My friend friend the priest (who also writes about Advent, including prayers for Advent) says that we need to be careful not to rush into Christmas too early — and he’s right, of course. As children, we have a waiting anticipation for the approach of Christmas. As adults, it always arrives too soon. We enter into a frenetic pace somewhere in mid-November. We let it creep up on us and slowly build until the week before Christmas when we’re frantically buying one more gift or somebody’s cousin’s aunt or weird-uncle-Hal’s girlfriend from Topeka who announced rather late that she’d be tagging along for the holidays. And the grocery store lineup, and an extra bottle of wine or two… and something a little stronger to help fortify yourself for the season. We know it’s coming, so we put on the Christmas carols about six weeks early. It wouldn’t be so bad if this practice didn’t actually tire us further instead of building anticipation like it did when we were kids wanting to make sure that we had cookies and milk put out for Santa Clause.
The catch line was more along the lines of, “So a priest and a rabbi walk into a used bookstore…” not just because it sounds like the lead-in to a good joke, but because it’s actually what happened. I’ve said before that I have trouble keeping up with podcasts. I don’t take the bus anywhere, and in front of a computer I tend to prefer to read instead, which means if I start the computer playing something I still end up reading while it plays, and I miss stuff from the podcast. I tried listening while washing dishes, but (a) dishes don’t take that long and (b) people keep talking to me in the kitchen. But I really wanted to listen to the podcast of an event I was sad to have missed, from the Idea Exchange series last season: Rabbi Larry Pinsker and Jamie Howison — “A Rabbi and a Priest in conversation on how we read the Old Testament.” Fortunately, I had a perfect opportunity while last month on the flight to Vancouver en route to Seabeck for the Allelon Missional Order conversations.