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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent or advent: a celebration of life in Christ or a life of consumerism?

Advent for those in the Western tradition
begins on 28 November
Advent for those in the Eastern tradition
begins on 15 November.

Advent to is a time of looking forward.  Below is a dictionary definition of the word "advent".
ad·vent  (dvnt)
1. The coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important: the advent of the computer.
2. Advent
a. The liturgical period preceding Christmas, beginning in Western churches on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and in Eastern churches in mid-November, and observed by many Christians as a season of prayer, fasting, and penitence.
b. Christianity The coming of Jesus at the Incarnation.
c. Christianity See Second Coming.

[Middle English, the Advent season, from Old French, from Latin adventus, arrival, from past participle ofadvenre, to come to : ad-, ad- + venre, to come; see gw- in Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

As you will note from the derivation of the word, it refers to an arrival or a coming.  Currently, advent calendars are arriving in the shops which rely more on sale because of novelty or chocolate consumption with no hint of the what Advent means.  Please note, I have used the capital letter for Advent which relies on the spiritual context and lower case for the word when used in relation to consumerism.
I take the trouble for remembrance of this because Advent is a time of preparation to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and to remember that while there was a First Advent as faithful people looked forward to His coming, this is also a time of preparation as faithful people look forward to His second coming when He returns to reclaim His own.  
So, with the help of Christine Sine's beautiful video above, let us take time to emphasise Advent and truly enter into the the spirit of the Christmas season with a life lived in Christ.  If we only celebrate advent, what is it that we are commemorating? An introduction to and preparation for consumerism and life with monopoloistic retailers and confectionary and noveltry producers?
, The Uncluttered Heart: Making Room for God During Advent and Christmas
Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J.M. Nouwen: Daily Scripture and Prayers together with Nouwen's Own Words 
We Light the Candles: Devotions Related to Family Use of the Advent Wreath 
 Advent and Christmas Wisdom From G. K. Chesterton 
Preparing My Heart for Advent 
A Family Advent: Keeping the Savior in the Season  

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