This is the week of Black Friday, of the best deals on stuff advertised as the next deals for Christmas.
It’s the start of Marketers Advent.
Black Friday. Shop Local Saturday. Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday.
And when that doesn’t help the bottom line, there are the best sales of the micro seasons, the last minute sales.
Each of these bits, sewn together, are said to help us celebrate the season.
It didn’t start on Black Friday. We’ve been hearing the music and seeing the decor since the first of November. We saw advertisements saying, “Our Black Friday deals last all week.” It sounds like a way to beat the rush. It’s more likely a way to jumpstart the cash.
Although we love the reduced prices and the feeling of getting a deal, many of us simply want something more simple. We have a sense that there is something deeper to this season, but all the swirling celebration keeps us from more than a nostalgic desire.
There is something else.
In the long history of the church, this isn’t called the Christmas season. It’s called Advent. In the Northern Hemisphere where this description of the season developed, it was a way to handle the growing shortness of daylight.
Speak of the first coming of Jesus at Bethlehem and the beginning of hope promised, and the second coming of Jesus at the beginning of hope realized. And then, just after the turn of the calendar, when daylight starts to grow, celebrate the birth. Celebrate it in the context of the bigger story of God’s story for people.
I’m not against good deals and buying gifts. I wrote Saint John of the Mall: Reflections for the Advent Season. I think it’s helpful for walking through Advent. And I’m not against marketers advent, particularly if your sales support your family.
But I want to remind us that there is a longer timeline to life than this moment.