You've no doubt heard of "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving that features, along with countless sales, the more-than-occasional trampling of shoppers by their frenzied peers.
In many ways, "Black Friday" has become a bigger deal than Thanksgiving. So much so that many major retailers have announced that they are opening their doors on Thursday.
The hope is that the possibility of buying something you don't really need for a little less than you would pay a few weeks later will help people work off the turkey and pumpkin pie and get down to some serious Christmas shopping.
The problem is that it isn't Christmas yet-at least not for Christians.
The weeks leading up to Christmas day are properly called Advent in Western Christianity, from the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming."[i]
Adventus was the Latin translation of the Greek word parousia, which the New Testament most often used to refer to Jesus' second coming. In antiquity, parousia was usually associated with the arrival of royalty: the leaders of a city went outside the city gates to meet the Emperor and escort him back into the city.
Thus, for the Christian, Advent is about preparing to greet our King. And it is a time for both looking back to Jesus' first coming and looking forward to His second coming in glory.
Like Lent, Advent is a penitential season, a time for reflection and repentance. If we're honest with ourselves, what Titus 2 calls "our blessed hope-the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,"-should provoke both joy and a bit of dread. It's a time for asking ourselves whether we truly are "a people that are [Christ's] very own, eager to do what is good."
If this doesn't put you in the mood for shopping, well, congratulations! You are starting to "get" Advent.
Source: Christian Post
From BreakPoint, November 16, 2012, Copyright 2012, Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with the permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. "BreakPoint®" and "Prison Fellowship Ministries®" are registered trademarks of Prison Fellowship