Advent is the four weeks (or so — more on that later) leading up to Christmas. It’s a period of expectant waiting, of spiritual preparation for Christmas. In this it is similar to how Lent leads up to Easter, but, well, more happy. When I discovered Advent, I was thrilled to find an alternative to the season of hyped commercialism. And I was surprised that though I’d spent my entire life in this Christian-rooted though secular culture, celebrating Christmas along with most of those around me, I had no idea anyone still celebrated Advent.
Just to be clear, I don’t hate the commercial aspects of Christmas. I think giving gifts can be sacred, and I love the silly excesses of pop culture. But Advent offers a counterbalance — a reminder of what this season is all about. And I don’t just mean waiting for the celebration of Jesus’s birth. I also mean remembering the season’s anchoring in tradition and tribal culture; remembering the spiritual dimension of gift-giving and hospitality; remembering the beauty of music and its power to connect us to the sacred.
And if you know anyone you think would appreciate fact or reflection about Advent, please share my posts or the whole series with them! I’ve been at Patheos now for four months and I hope to get my blog in front of a lot more people; I’d appreciate your help getting the word out.