The wisdom of the seasons gets lost in the plastic world of limitless desire and limited resources. Shopping becomes what Advent is meant to be: the consuming preparation for one of the greatest feasts of the Christian year. But commercialism is not the problem. The problem is that the lack of contemplative consideration that comes with Christmas consumerism too often drowns out the sounds of Advent. As a result we have managed to make Christmas an event, a passing fancy, an exhausting endurance exercise, stripped of reflection by the pressure of social protocols. But judging from the scripture of the season, Christmas is surely meant to be an attitude toward life. It is meant to be arrived at slowly and lived succulently. Christmas is not meant to be simply a day of celebration; it is meant to be a month of contemplation. But because Advent has been lost somewhere between the Thanksgiving turkey and pre-Christmas sales, we have lost one of the richest seasons of the year.
Adapted from Joan Chittister, OSB
May I be awake to the spirit of advent.
Take some quiet time to reflect on the purpose of Advent. Light an Advent candle or wreath as a reminder. Read the Advent scriptures and reflect on their meaning in contemporary terms.
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD ; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
In this season of Advent, we are called to expand the horizons of our hearts, to be amazed by the life which presents itself each day with newness.
Let us pray that we shall be able to welcome Jesus at Christmas not in the cold manger of a selfish heart, but in a heart full of love, compassion, joy and peace, a heart warm with love for one another.
Advent, like Lent, is about a choice of how to live personally and individually, nationally and internationally.
We have moved to a level where we have made happiness and contentment largely impossible. We have created a pseudo-happiness, largely based in having instead of being. We are so overstimulated that the ordinary no longer delights us. We cannot rest or abide in our naked being in God, as Jesus offers us.
Advent is about getting in touch with our longing. It’s about letting our yearnings raise our psychic temperatures so that we are pushed to eventually let down our guard, hope in new ways, and risk intimacy.
In Mary’s universal song we hear the ultimate Advent hymn—a song of hope to reverse the patterns of suffering prevalent in the world today.