Advent Firesiders

What Are We Going To Do about Christmas? (2016)

Whatever are we going to do about Christmas? It has now almost completely swallowed up Advent only to be swallowed in turn on its second official day by new year celebrations. How shall we get it back again?

For a start, we all need to be much more emphatic about the importance of the Season of Advent, as emphatic as some of us are about Lent. Because the secular world celebrates Christmas in Advent self denial becomes a serious problem: we do not wish to appear puritanical by not attending Christmas parties with colleagues or those with whom we share an interest, but we can at least carry Advent in our hearts while abroad and make it a feature of our homes and times of prayer and study. We will have to try to imagine how it must have felt when Christians were a persecuted minority rather than the establishment, a state to which we are rapidly returning. Such spiritual concentration requires a certain degree of planning and self discipline which is why I reacted so badly two years ago when the Advent candles in the wreath were all white, rather than three purple, a pink and a white. If I had my own way they would be two purple, a pink and a blue for Mary on Advent 4. The only way to save Christmas is to save Advent.