Monday, December 3, 2012

Advent Reflections

Advent and Lent are the two major penitential seasons of the liturgical year. As Christians, we are called during these seasons to sacrifice and prayer in preparation for a glorious event.
Every time God’s people celebrate God’s glory, they must first go through a time of penitence. There is no Easter Sunday without the agony of Good Friday. Similarly, Christ’s birth does not happen without a period of longing on the part of the Chosen People for the Messiah.
But for many Christians today, Lent is the primary season of penitence for Christians, while Advent is an afterthought. This is partially because Lent is, quite simply, a longer and more intense period - 40 days in the wilderness. Advent is a shorter time of waiting, so to speak, and entails comparatively less sacrifice.
But this state of affairs is also because the period before Christmas has been kidnapped by retailers and transformed into "the holiday season" Advent has been commercialized in our society, recreated into a time to worship the almighty dollar. 
Christmas in the modern world begins on Black Friday, with the secular advent of the shopping season (or even earlier). Christmas songs start around Thanksgiving, "holiday decorations" (now increasingly without Christ) go up weeks before Christmas.
This may be acceptable for a secular society which cares little for the coming of Christ; it is wrong and foolish for Christians to embrace these customs. Advent is a time of waiting and self-restraint in preparation for the glorious coming of Christ, not a period of slavish devotion to sales. We Christians have days after Christmas to celebrate Christ’s birth.
Our Christmas begins December 25. Let us purify ourselves before His coming!

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