Too much has already been said about red Starbucks cups this week. And I’m sure that there will be more opportunities for people to take offense over Christmas related greetings and decorations over the next six weeks before Christmas Day even arrives.
But what about those of us who wait to celebrate Christmas until Christmas Day? Anglicans observe a quiet season of preparation called Advent for the four weeks leading up to Christmas while everything about our culture encourages to rush ahead to Christmas and skip over Advent.
Anglican Priest Greg Goebel wrote a insightful article about Advent with the tongue-in-cheek title “The War on Advent.” He writes,
For many centuries, Advent was a season of spiritual preparation before the Feast of Christmas. It began four Sundays before Christmas. Contrary to the practice of so-called Advent in many churches, it wasn’t focused on the story of the birth of Christ and the singing of carols. That’s for the Christmas season. Instead, Advent is a time of reflection, penitence, and preparation, not of celebration.
Human nature being what it is, we ended up skimming the icing off of the cake before the birthday party even started. We like feasts, but we don’t like fasts. Many churches and Christians stopped observing the seasons, except for the feasts and celebrations (Easter and Christmas). In other words, we dropped the preparation, penitence and reflection part and went straight for the carols, presents, and egg nog.