Advent is still days away, yet the secular world has already rushed us into preparing for Christmas. Thanksgiving was just a blur this year as retail stores switched from fall decorations to Christmas ornaments right after Halloween. Black Friday was slightly better for retailers than expected. And now today is Cyber-Monday, the day when many of us hit the internet to do our Christmas shopping. And so we prepare for Christmas.
It wasn’t too long ago that preparing for Christmas meant something different for Catholics. Advent wreaths, pink and purple candles, Advent calendars, nativity scenes — all of these were traditional parts of our preparations. It’s interesting that the secular world has jumped on a religious event and expanded it. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, it’s difficult to lose sight of what we are preparing for at this time of year.
Christmas is a time when light breaks into darkness. And so we live in darkness, waiting for the light. We anticipate and yearn and pray that once again God will break into our lives and make us new.
Let’s keep that in mind as we tackle Cyber-Monday and the rest of the shopping season. Perhaps set up a little Nativity Scene in your office or at home to be a constant reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. Take some time to pray each day, if only for a minute or two during these busy times. Rethink your shopping list by giving books and other gifts that invite your friends and family to see how God breaks into the darkness of their lives each and every day anew.