Thinking about the season of Advent I was reflecting on some cool aspects of it.
First off so far liturgists have not managed to ruin it. All of the Lenten shenanigans such as emptying Holy Water fonts or filling them with sand are not really found in Advent. Not that I doubt some liturgist somewhere has tried. Plus the quality of the hymns usually goes up in Advent to some degree.
The season of Advent doesn’t really get much attention in society as it seems Christmastide starts on Black Friday and ends on December 25th. But there are advantages to Advent flying under the radar so to speak. For one there are no Advent equivalents like “Grandma was run over by the preparation for the Incarnation.” For the most part Advent has not been commercialized, just pretty much totally ignored. Although Advent Calendars have become commercialized with everything from Legos to promotions for mobile applications. People are now more likely to know what an Advent Calendar is, just not what Advent is. Just try replying “Have a Blessed Advent” when out shopping and see the blank stares like you just tried to sing a Klingon opera.
Unfortunately so many people are missing out on all the great Advent hymns. The chances of hearing an actual Advent hymn on the radio or at the Mall is pretty much zero with the possible exception of “Emmanuel” Speaking of “Emmanuel” I realize I am a total liturgical curmudgeon in that I am annoyed both that a choir doesn’t seem to know any other Advent hymns and upset when they don’t sing it. At the end of Mass yesterday I was tempted to shout encore and raise an Advent candle to the air to get the choir to come back out and to get around to singing it.
Thankfully I have been building up my own Advent music collection. I can hardly believe that not that long ago I was listening to “System of a Down” when putting up a Christmas tree and now am singing along to Advent hymns instead. In fact if you have a favorite Advent album or hymn I would love to hear about it in the comments.
New York, NY––Local Catholic and Liturgical stickler Gerry Brownstone was offended earlier today when leaving his local Food-Mart, after the greeter wished him a “Merry Christmas.” “Who does that guy think he is, saying that to me?” Brownstone said. “Advent has barely begun. The Liturgical Calendar has a Christmas season, you ignoramus, and it begins after the Feast of the Nativity, not a month before.” A visibly irritated Brownstone continued, “I don’t wish you a Blessed Pentecost the week before the Ascension, do I? Grow up.” When asked what he preferred as an Advent salutation, Brownstone answered: “I don’t know. Maybe something about the Season of Advent, like ‘Advent’s Greetings,’ or something about the holiness of the days that are coming, like ‘Happy Holidays.’ Either of those would be liturgically more acceptable.” He concluded his tirade, “It’s like there’s a War on Advent out there.”
Several years ago I theorized that it was Militant Adventists who were stealing the Baby Jesus’ out of Nativity scenes for daring to put him in the crib before Christmas.
I really admire those who wait for Christmas Eve to put up a Christmas Tree. Although I am too weak to wait. I put one up on the first Sunday of Advent. I’ll just call it an Advent tree – yeah that’s the ticket – that mysteriously has an ontological change to a Christmas tree at some point. While I am holding off on listening to Christmas Carols I just have to have that tree up. But I do keep it up to the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. I have heard some will put a tree up early, but not fully decorate it until just before Christmas. I also like that idea, but alas my tree is fully decorated.
So what do you do to make Advent not just some commercial lead up?