Well before last’s week’s Thanksgiving Day holiday, America began to cover itself with Christmas trees, lights, wreaths and all the trimmings of the season.
The seasonal decorations include the usual Santa and reindeer as well as on non-public land, the customary crèche. It is once again the season of the commercial Christmas complete with its midnight sales and “Black Friday” bargains. Rather than preparing for the birth of our Savior, the masters of marketing and industry have reduced it to a frenzied attempt to sell Santa’s promise of gifts as way to earn profits.
Sadly, as early as late October, many stores and malls commence the commercial campaign in the hopes of besting the previous year’s profits. Shoppers speed to the stores for the unneeded and unnecessary purchases of a vast array of useless and expensive products. Yes, it’s Christmastime in the city as the song reminds us endlessly over the airwaves. The City of Man continues to fall victim to the crass commercialism of Christmas with its usual business of debasing the birth of Jesus Christ rather than patiently awaiting the celebration of his birth.
However, the City of God stands upon a hill in stark contrast to the commercialism and materialism that too often marks the season. The time of preparation and joyful anticipation of Christmas truly begins this Sunday as the church marks the beginning of the season of Advent. On Sunday the violet candle is lit in churches across the globe as Catholics mark the beginning of the sacred and somber season of waiting joyfully and patiently for the birth of the Christ Child. Yet, too many including many Catholics continue to worship the sacred cow of secularism, namely shopping!
For too many, Advent is simply a season of sales and shopping, a time of buying and bargains rather than praying and reflecting on the true meaning of the season. The somber yet joyful season of Advent commences soon and the call of the church to stop, pray and wait for Christmas goes out. Let all heed this faithful call to patiently stop and joyfully pray in anticipation the birth of the Christ Child at Christmas!
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