BLACK FRIDAY hit us even earlier this year. It came at dawn on Friday just a few years back, then midnight, and now the frenzy invades Thanksgiving day itself. Black Friday is important! Devoted consumers must move rapidly from the sentimentality of Thanksgiving to the core business of the season. We hope to get more stuff for less money to leave more money for buying more stuff.
Two days later comes the first Sunday of Advent, and we light the first candle. The purple represents the amazing contradiction of Christ’s suffering and his royalty. God’s people watched, waited, prayed, and were awed by the thought of Messiah coming. We join them in these things as we think about His past, present, and future coming. A pink candle will move us from quiet waiting to joyous celebration. ‘Joy to the world! The Lord is come! Let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare Him room, and heaven and nature sing!”
Not many of us have bothered with advent wreaths, or church services, or any other Christmas traditions of the older, quieter, religious sort. We have places to go and presents to buy. We don’t care much for waiting or for thinking. Our season began with a frenzied Black Friday, and we’ve maintained our frenetic pace ever since. Many of us will be relieved to be done with Christmas. The pace and the spending are just too exhausting. Other more devoted and energetic consumers will be up and shopping feverishly on December 26, hoping for even greater success than on Black Friday.
I hope for my family and for yours that we will slow down enough to catch some glimpses of God’s glory during this holy season. The tinsel and trappings and presents are meaningful when they help us be grateful for the Divine Gift who changes everything by becoming one of us and bringing lasting joy, and peace, and love. Christmas comes on a Sunday this year, and we will light a white candle during a simple time of worship at our church. It will be a quiet and blessed moment, and it will give us an opportunity to look past the wrapping paper and to see the Gift.
For more information about Advent, see http://www.crivoice.org/cyadvent.html