"The celebration of Advent is one of those places where the Church and the world in which she abides are clearly at odds. This becomes very apparent when you watch the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade and hear that the Christmas Season begins with the arrival of Santa Clause in New York City and then go to Church the following Sunday to witness a family lighting the first of four candles to commemorate the beginning of the Advent Season a time where we prepare for the Feast of the Incarnation of the Lord, Christmas.
We hear relentlessly how our economy is dependent on merchant’s
ability to see enough goods during the “Holiday Shopping Season”. Every
where we go, the world is getting frantic, loud, and even at times
chaotic, all in the name of Christmas.
Advent’s message comes from a very different place. It comes from
Isaiah calling the Jewish people back to a humble faithfulness. It
comes form John standing in the River Jordan reminding us that this
world is passing and that we need to renew ourselves in its waters to
become whole. It comes from Mary, the young mother-to-be, quietly
waiting to introduce Jesus to the world in a very real way. Advent is a
time that is fundamentally quiet, reflective, joyful, and hopeful. It
has very little to do with the commotion of shopping, the stress that
comes with trying to make ends meet while generating new debts, and the
guilt that can be associated with not being able to buy enough for your
kids or family.
Stop. Be still and let God be God. Prepare the way of the Lord.
Remember that Jesus came in the quiet of the night in a stable and was
not born at Macy’s."