Friday, November 26, 2010

The Holidays

As many of you know, shopping is among my least favorite activities.  On the day where many Americans bow to the altar of consumerism, otherwise known as Black Friday, I find myself reflecting on the meaning of the holiday season.  Regardless of the religious beliefs that you may or may not hold, there is more to the season than buying things for other people (or ourselves) who already have everything. 

Somewhere in the whirlwind of shopping lists, holiday parties, traffic jams, obligations, and stress, I fear we have lost the meaning of this season. 

Because this is my blog, you all get the privilege of my commentary on the season.  This upcoming Sunday begins the liturgical season of Advent.  The four weeks of Advent are a time of watchful waiting and preparation for Christmas.  Far too often Advent and Christmas are combined, and we lose the depth and meaning of the season of Advent.

Advent is my favorite season in the church year because of its contemplative nature.  I often find myself swept away in the chaos of ordinary life, and time for contemplation does not happen nearly enough.  Advent is a time for reflection and drawing close with family and friends.  Each Advent season brings a flood a memories:
Advent candles reflected in the windows at Hope Lutheran, the glorious hymns of Augustana Vespers filling the downtown cathedral, Holden Evening prayer at Epiphany (including the time Pr. Mike and I sang the liturgy from memory when the music was misplaced!) and the many other occasions of friends and family gathered, dispelling the darkness of the long winter nights.   

As we enter into Advent, I wish you all a blessed season.  May you have time for contemplation, time with friends and family and the opportunity to experience peace and joy in the midst of the holiday madness.

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