Last Sunday was Advent Sunday- when in the church calendar we begin the preparations for Christmas. In some churches its quite serious, not so much in ours last weekend. We had a bit of chaos (some intentional, some accidental), and a lot of fun. We thought about waiting, looking forward, joyful anticipation and the excitement that many of us (not just the children) have in our hearts at this time.
The only fly in the ointment was that two days before our wonderful country had decided to participate in the American tradition of Black Friday- 7 supermarkets in one city had the police called to deal with violence, there were broken bones and threats… not a great day, and I was ashamed to be a part of that culture. Yesterday was Cyber Monday and my email inbox was filled once again with invitations to come and spend- best bargains abounded (except, hadn’t the best bargains been last Friday?).
Today, however, is Giving Tuesday- a concept developed in response to all these commercial things- give to someone, help someone, be generous to someone.
What’s most tragic is that Black Friday follows on from Thanksgiving- an American tradition of giving thanks for the things we have, for the year we’ve got through, and the people around us- a really good tradition.
And Cyber Monday- well its the start of the Christmas shopping- that time of year when we traditionally get more and more frustrated at the people around us and our own inability to find the perfect gift until on the 25th December we give up and take a day off from, before the post-Christmas sales start a day later. The thing is, we all know there is more to ‘it’ than that, but somehow its hard to put it into words without sounding like you’re reciting the script for a school play… over this next month I’m going to be reflecting on some very short passages from the Bible and putting my thoughts on advent, preparation and Christmas into words, hopefully in ways that make sense.
And if you want a bit of a challenge, something slightly different to do this advent as well as the chocolate in the calendar and the count down of how many sleeps till Christmas, try looking at this, the Advent Challenge is to share goodwill and compassion with those around us… crazy or what?