THE TAKE AWAY
Anticipating the Arrival of the Savior
By Kersley Fitzgerald
[Serious Hunger Games spoiler warning. Serious. Like, if you haven't finished reading Mockingjay, don't go any further.]
[Because, yes, I managed to find a parallel between The Hunger Games and Advent.]
In the very last scene of the last Hunger Games book, Katniss thinks about her children with Peeta. The girl who is beginning to understand what the Hunger Games were and how her parents were involved, and the boy who will learn in a few years. They are playing in a meadow, in grass that covers a mass grave of the dead of District 12. And Katniss knows that someday she'll have to explain to them more than what they learn in school.
At that point, her mother and Gale have moved on to other districts. Prim is gone. Katniss and Peeta work on a book memorializing other tributes from the games, while Haymitch haphazardly raises geese.
The whole setting made me wonder what kind of ceremonies they celebrated in Panem. Were the days she and Peeta were in the games national holidays? Did they see her as their deliverer? Or here, more than twenty years later, were they too busy with children who didn't understand — maybe who thought the holidays were about little cakes made in Peeta's honor and lamb stew in Katniss's? Or gifts given like the sponsors gave to the tributes?
Those who witnessed the events must have noted the days. This was the day Katniss killed Coin. This was the day the arena exploded and Katniss was rescued. This is the day Katniss and Peeta entered the arena the second time. This was the day they didn't eat the berries. This was the day Rue died.
This was the day they started the first games.
But did they recognize the days before that? Like reading a well-loved book when you know you're getting to the good part?
This was the day Katniss volunteered for her sister. The day that marked the beginning of when she rescued us.
If you're a fan of the books or movies, you feel something in those first moments. The day spent hunting. The visit to the Hob. Clean dresses and braided hair. You know what's going to happen, and you sit on the edge of your seat until it does.
That is Advent. The anticipation of the arrival of the Savior. In a way, the Jews understood that better than we do. The Triumphal Entry was, they thought, Jesus' train ride into the Capital.
But it wasn't really. The invasion into enemy territory started earlier, in the days leading to His birth. It was His birth that marked the coming of the champion — something Herod understood, to a degree. Jesus' birth was akin to the moment when Katniss rose on the dais in the first games. The beginning of the end, although few knew it.
Modern Christmas is so consumed by little baby Jesus "lyin' there in your ghost manger." The days leading to it are filled with potlucks and sales and arguments about whether we should even be celebrating.
This year, I find myself celebrating in a different way. I'm gathering palm fronds and reliving the story in anticipation of the good part. The manger and the stable — and even, to some extent, the baby — are all just details. The wise men and Herod understood these are the days where we bounce on our toes or perch on the edge of our seats, waiting for the moment when the warrior starts His quest. The second arena was destroyed with Jesus' resurrection; now we await the assault against the Capital. And we know our Champion will win, and we will dance on the graves of sin and death.
For now, we remind each other of the moments past. Especially the moment Jesus came down as a volunteer to save us. And that is Advent.
Blogos now has advent readings, courtesy of GotQuestions.org. Find them here:
"The Prophets' Candle, Symbolizing Hope"
"The Bethlehem Candle, Symbolizing Faith"
"The Shepherds' Candle, Symbolizing Joy"
"The Angels' Candle, Symbolizing Peace"
Image Credit: Barbara Muller-Walter; "3. Advent 2011"; Creative Commons
Tags: Celebrating-Holidays | Christian-Life | Jesus-Christ
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