It has often irritated me how commercial the holiday season has become; I hear similar grievances from others who complain little. Christmas music seems to back up a week-per-year and looks more like supply and demand then anything resembling the simplicity of the first Birth. This year it seemed the halloween candy was barely passed out before santa began his cheer. Is commerce driving us, or is Christ? I'm reminded that for most of the life of the Church Advent was a pentitential and reflective holiday, not a transactional one.
Case in point, less than sixty years ago commerce was not an issue for the holidays. America, recovering from the great depression in mid-century, was forced to celebrate a simpler holiday that wasn't mail-order, or catalog-driven. Americans didn't have the money -- and the credit -- that it has now. But somewhere in the 70's and 80's came the boomers -- the wealthiest generation ever -- and suddenly the holidays became more about making sure kids got what their parents did not, especially with the guilt that came from a new tide of divorce...
So my hope -- and I believe the hope of many -- is to return to a prophetic, Isaiahish holiday ... preparing for the coming King without the cash register. For in our past as we look at Isaiah, we see our spiritual fragility, our tendencies towards depravity, our faithless religiousity. And in looking back to periods such as that of Isaiah (captivity, discipline, regression) that we also reiterate our mortality and yet must relax in God's incredible and unrelenting mercy.
Remember YOUR past and I believe you'll discover your present. Hear the first week of our series.