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Blog // Thoughts
November 24, 2011

Advent Is Coming Again

Bored by Christmas already? Frustrated that the decorations, food and “Christmas Specials” seem to arrive earlier and earlier every year? You are not alone! Here in Asia we seem to be stuck in an endless season of retail extravagance. Mid-Autumn festival runs straight into Halloween and/or Diwali, which crashes into Christmas, which merges into Chinese […]

Bored by Christmas already? Frustrated that the decorations, food and “Christmas Specials” seem to arrive earlier and earlier every year? You are not alone!

Here in Asia we seem to be stuck in an endless season of retail extravagance. Mid-Autumn festival runs straight into Halloween and/or Diwali, which crashes into Christmas, which merges into Chinese New Year. Each season seems to beg another round of consumerism, spending and over-indulgence.

What we now call Christmas is, in the traditional Christian calendar (Catholic & Anglican), really two seasons; Advent and Christmas. Advent runs for the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, starting this year on November 27. Christmas itself runs from Christmas eve, until Epiphany, on the 6th of January (and in some traditions, until the Sunday after Epiphany).

Most of the hymns we recognise as Christmas tunes are in fact only sung during this short season – the twelve days of Christmas.

The bulk of the season, the four and a bit weeks of Advent are a time of (often quiet) preparation for Christmas. As Lent is focussing on being ready for Easter, so Advent is a season for people to get their head around the meaning and significance of Christmas; while contemplating ideas of peace, love, joy and hope.

I’ve long ago lost hope of reclaiming Advent in any kind of popular sense. Sad, I know. Consumerism reigns supreme and Christmas has just become about stuff – heavy meals, lots of drink and things we crave but will probably never really use.

But, at least at home, I still light some candles, put up the old decorations (collected from around the world) and reflect on what Peace on Earth might look like.

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