Holding Fast to Advent

I'm a stickler/scrooge/grump with no sense of childlike wonder/the holiday spirit/the joy of Christ's birth because I'm not plastering my home with blinking lights/incurring mountains of debt at Suburban Mall/wearing antlers to work.

I realized how precious Advent was to me yesterday when someone was literally offended when I didn't think Christmas Village (acres of shops covered in strings of white lights) was marvelous. Well, no. If we're celebrating the birth of a very poor child, resting in a filthy feeding trough, I'm not sure that wasting more than our corner of the world's fair share of energy is a great way to do it. "Well, you just don't understand how beautiful something like that is it a child." I don't. I also don't understand how beautiful a Play Station is, but that's not relevant to my spiritual experiences, either.

When we're being pummelled by commercialism and gaudy self-indulgence on every side, I can't imagine why forfeiting Advent in the church is the best decision to make.

I'm only an intern. I've never dealt with the hostilities that come when a parish isn't getting what it wants. I know that I have a lot to learn, and I know that compromise is precious.

But I think this is the perfect time to embrace the idea that the church is meant to be counter-cultural in many ways, that we need a force holding back culture's pressures.

Wouldn't it be beautiful if we could use Advent as a respite for all the craziness of December? How many people are struggling through this "Season of Joy," trying to conceal lonliness, depression, concern over money and family? Are we helping them by smearing around the jolly? I think it's more helpful to provide a quiet time, a time where we focus on the hope of what can be, of what we believe will be.

This immediate-gratification world lunges straight for Christmas. Can't we please give them the comfort of a season where we watch for hope and peace?


  1. Anonymous2:23 PM

    Amen, amen!

  2. Anonymous3:11 PM

    As one who is self-admittedly an "Advent Nazi," I'm with you. And I've weathered some of the conflicts which ensue - and still think it's worth it! Thanks.


"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins