Sunday, November 30, 2008
MysticBliss: Thomas Merton on Advent
Did you go shopping this past "black" Friday?
If you did, no need to feel ashamed. (I know some people do.) It's hard to resist the sales, and I know that it can just be fun to be out and about, sharing in the holiday zeal.
The problem is, of course, that more often it is holiday "grouch." People are out and about spending money they don't have, stressing over buying gifts for people they feel they should know well but barely know at all, thinking ahead to all the baking and the card sending and the parties they would rather skip.
For a time of renewal and birth, we certainly are not tapping into any sort of meaning.
A reminder from Thomas Merton:
It is important to remember the deep, in some ways anguished seriousness of Advent, when the mendacious celebrations of our marketing culture so easily harmonize with our tendency to regard Christmas, consciously or unconsciously, as a return to our innocence and our own infancy. But the church, in preparing us for the birth of a “great prophet,” a Savior, and a Prince of Peace, has more in mind than seasonal cheer. The Advent mystery focuses the light of faith upon the very meaning of life, history, humanity, the world, and our own being. In Advent, we celebrate the coming, and indeed the presence, of Christ in our world.
Even if you no longer celebrate a "religious" Christmas, I think you can still partake of the larger and deeper meanings of peace and purpose and presence. How will you try to do this?