It's an important time of the year, in several different ways.
Here in central Minnesota, it's the time of year when thunderstorm watches and tornado warnings give way to blizzard warnings and winter weather watches. We've got a Winter Weather Advisory tomorrow, by the way: no big deal; just sleet, freezing rain, and snow.
Where was I? Advent. It's important. Right.
Here in America "black Friday" is an 1869 financial catastrophe - that happened in September of that year. It's also what quite a few folks call the Friday after Thanksgiving - I thought it was because it was when retail businesses tended to start showing profit for the calendar year. Turns out, a Philadelphia businessman says Philadelphians invented the term to describe bad traffic. I've gotten off-topic again.
If this Advent season goes like many others, we'll be counting down the shopping days left until Christmas. Which is culturally and financially important - but isn't what the Holy See is primarily concerned with just now.
It's not that the Pope is against capitalism. Quite. (July 17, 2009)
Advent (finally I get to the point) is the season when Christians get ready for Christmas. That's what we're supposed to be doing, anyway.
Catholics can get some help with Advent, online:
- "Bishops’ Website Offers Resources for Advent and Christmas Seasons Including Book of Reflections from Pope Benedict XVI"
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops press release (November 18, 2010)
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- The Holy See
I'm pretty sure we won't have an Advent wreath in our household. I've nothing against the things - it's just that it's not part of what we do. There will be a Nativity scene, though.
What's important, if I understand this correctly, is to get ready for Christmas: when Christians celebrate the birth or our Lord.
Which may not have happened at or near the winter solstice. That I may write a post about, before the year is up.
I may even do a rant against crass commercialization and media distortions of whatever. Not that I think there's anything intrinsically wrong with tinsel and bright colors.
The fact is, I sort of like glitz. Or, to be more hoity-toity, I go for baroque: I even dig rococo.
And I've gotten off-topic again.
Beyond the pre-Christmas sales, the charities sending out personalized stickers, and Minnesota's winter weather, there's an act of generosity that got this whole Christmas thing going:
"For God so loved the world that he gave 7 his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."Not-quite-unrelated posts:
- "Colorful Catholics: Vestment Colors For Every Season"
(July 22, 2010)
- " 'Just Routine: Nothing Special' - a Priest in a Small Town"
(April 30, 2010)
- "The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph"
(December 27, 2009)
- "Pope Attacked at Christmas Eve Mass: And What He Said"
(December 24, 2009)
- "Christmas? Yeah, it's a Pretty Big Deal"
(December 24, 2009)
- "The True Meaning of Christmas"
(December 24, 2008)