Advent I

Today is the first Sunday in Advent; it is NOT “Thanksgiving Sunday.” Each year in Advent and the Christmas season I read through a book called Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas, once published by Plough Press, an arm of the Bruderhof communities, and now by Maryknoll.

The particular danger which faces us as Christmas approaches is unlikely to be contempt for the sacred season, but nevertheless our familiarity with it may easily produce in us a kind of indifference…. We are all aware of the commercialization of Christmas…. We shall without doubt enjoy the carols, the decorations, the feasting and jollification…. But we may not always see clearly that so much decoration and celebration has been heaped upon the festival that the historic fact upon which all the rejoicing is founded has been almost smothered out of existence.

What we are in fact celebrating is the awe-inspiring humility of God, and no amount of familiarity with the trappings of Christmas should ever blind us to its quiet but explosive significance.

—J.B. Phillips, “The Dangers of Advent” (emphasis added)

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