All I Want for Christmas
This weekend is significant in the Christian year because it marks the end of one year, called ‘Year C’ according to the liturgical calendar, and the beginning of the new year, called ‘Year A': it is also known as the start of Advent. The word Advent, as translated from the Latin word adventus, originally referred to the baptism of Christians, a time of celebration which comes after Christmastide, or the twelve days following December 25. In the modern era, Advent has come to signify the four weeks and their Sundays leading up to December 24, Christmas Eve. Why then would anyone, whether Christian or not, wish to take heed of this significant moment in the Christian calendar year?
Regardless of where one resides, northern or southern hemisphere, tropical or Nordic climate, desert or mountain, there comes a time during every twelve month cycle that all humanity could do with slowing down. Turn off the noise: embrace the silence. With the rise of commercialism and consumerism, and the emphasis on end-of-year expectations, the season of Advent can offer a place of refuge for the body and soul. If taken as a point of meditation and reflection, these next four weeks can become a time of turning inward, away from disturbing messages encouraging spending money in order to fulfill societal expectations.
Instead, why not try something that costs little more than one’s personal time. Pick up the phone, schedule a visit, share in a meal. Provide hospitality and listen. Yes, listen. Being present for each other is one of the greatest gifts we can share, and should share. But more often than not we succumb to the commercials. Buy this. Gift that. Joy = Spending.
Remember: experiences count. Hope counts. Love counts. Teach your children how to give; now is when to start. This December I challenge you to turn off your devices; stop searching for digital likes. Live in the present. And love those around you with your whole self.