Advent as an Alternative to the Commercialized Christmas

advent christmas Dec 18, 2023

Advent means "Light of God coming into the world." Well, it actually means “coming.” According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, it is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia.

But I have a few thoughts on this and as we jump into another Christmas season I wrestle with the feelings of commercialism like Charlie Brown. In fact, I don’t really even feel like what is being pushed at me during this season is even that anymore. I feel like my faith and values as a believer, husband, and father are being threatened and it leads me to cling to my faith even more.

My family did not celebrate Advent when I was young. Like most children, all I cared about was the presents. I have fond memories of insisting that I be able to bring my blankets and pillow downstairs to sleep next to the tree on Christmas Eve so that I could see Santa Claus. For some strange reason, I still woke up in my bed on Christmas morning every year.

I love Christmas and I love to encourage childlike wonder.

But my father always read from Luke or Matthew on Christmas Eve while we’d sit around the Christmas tree, drink egg nog, and open one present (usually pajamas). In the morning on Christmas Day, he would pray before we would let the present-open chaos ensue. His prayers were not short and stale. They were from the heart. 

My mother loved all her Christmas decorations and Santa Claus was among all of them. But the nativity and scripture verses were also around our house as my mother would never conceive of having any decorations in the house without reminding us of the reason for the season. 

As my wife and I lead our family we recognize that the big commercial powerhouses like Disney have been the ones to teach our children the meaning of Christmas. I think it goes without saying that they are not only really bad at this but even lately have been pushing agendas on our children that I am not standing with. I don’t blame them. There is no source for why they teach the reason for the season beyond the desire to believe in childlike wonder. They used to be really good at this. But I think I’d have to see family values and the resignation of Bob Iger before I trust Disney again. I don’t have to say a word and my five young boys could care less about what Disney is putting out right now. We’ve moved over to Godzilla. 

I digress.

Back to the reason for the season. The world we live in is so hopeless and the people bringing positive messages to us have lost their way. But that just encourages me to take this season back again for my family. 

Celebrating Advent in our own special way allows me to reclaim this season. 

It’s simple. 

I feel that that last sentence alone is something my American culture is craving so badly. 

Advent is a time when I can remind my children that Jesus came into the world from the highest heaven to a lowly manger. It is a time when we look to the future knowing that He will come again to redeem us. It is also a time for us to be reminded (as we need to be every day) that He comes right now to save us. He is Immanuel. God is with us.