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Advent and advent calendars

For many people “Advent” begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and as such last Sunday, they started that period of meditation and preparation for Christmas.

First Advent: Sunday 27 November 2022
Second Advent: Sunday 4 December 2022
Third Advent: Sunday 11 December 2022
Fourth Advent Sunday 18 December 2022

Advent is the 28-day period of, among others, Catholics’ preparation for Christmas; during which they expect the coming and return of Jesus Christ. Since the Latin word for ‘coming’ or ‘the coming’ is ‘adventus’, the four weeks before Christmas are called ‘Advent’.

In Western churches, Advent begins on the Sunday nearest to November 30 (St. Andrew’s Day) and is the beginning of the liturgical year. In many Eastern churches, the Nativity Fast is a similar period of penance and preparation that occurs during the 40 days before Christmas. The date when the season was first observed is uncertain. Bishop Perpetuus of Tours (461–490) established a fast before Christmas that began on November 11 (St. Martin’s Day), and the Council of Tours (567) mentioned an Advent season. {Encyc. Britannica}

The first followers of Christ did not celebrate his birthday, which was in October, but in later years several so-called followers of Christ who adhered to the Greek and heathen traditions wanted their feasts to fall together and as such chose for the god of light, referring to Jesus Christ being the light having come into the world.

The early Christians knew very well how the prophets, such as Abraham and Isaiah, did look forward to the coming of a promised saviour and assumed that the Nazarene Jeshua ben Joseph (Jeshua son of Josef, later to be renamed in order to refer to the chief god of the pantheon, Zeus > Issou = Hail Zeus = >Jesus) had to be that long-awaited person born of the seed of Abraham and of King David. They also very well knew that this man of flesh and blood whom they followed was the sent one from God and His anointed. Never had someone of Jesus’ disciples ever worshipped him as their god and at no time they ever wanted others to worship Jesus. They always insisted, like Jesus did, to worship the Only One True God, Who is an eternal Spirit Being no man can see. The man they had seen and believed in, they knew was a spokesman for God, a prophet and blessed man.

Today, real Christians also still only worship that Only True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah, God of hosts. For the first Christians and present-day real Christians, there was and is no place for false worship. They do not focus on or worship the Sun god and do not see any reason to prepare themselves for such a day which is a celebration of the god and goddess of light. They also do not have a special calendar to remind them how Jesus is going to pull them out of the darkness of this world.

Though the world of those who want to deceive followers of Christ, but also the whole of mankind, continually try to use the most attractive god, Mammon, or the god of money. These days we can come clearly see how people want to serve money. It all starts with Black Friday, deriving from the concept that businesses operate at a financial loss, or are “in the red,” until the day after Thanksgiving, when massive sales finally allow them to turn a profit, or put them “in the black.” It does not refer to Black Friday in U.S. history, a securities market panic that occurred on September 24, 1869, as a result of plummeting gold prices. But it is a day that everyone seems to go mad around sales prices, and searches to gain as much as possible.

A more accurate explanation of the term (Black Friday) dates back to the early 1960s, when police officers in Philadelphia began using the phrase “Black Friday” to describe the chaos that resulted when large numbers of suburban tourists came into the city to begin their holiday shopping and, in some years, attend Saturday’s annual Army-Navy football game. The huge crowds created a headache for the police, who worked longer shifts than usual as they dealt with traffic jams, accidents, shoplifting, and other issues.

Within a few years, the term Black Friday had taken root in Philadelphia. City merchants attempted to put a prettier face on the day by calling it “Big Friday.” {Encyc. Britannica}

Those who do not want to see how Advent and Christmas have really become commercial festivals are perhaps closing their eyes to it or being blind.

In the 1950s and 60s advent calendars had little windows behind which children could find little things like chocolate figurines or some maxim or life lesson. Later chocolate advent calendars became the norm when many adults of today were a teenager, but at least their price tag remained fairly low. Today’s high-end calendars – the ones that most children seem to want – are a different beast altogether.

Children can tear down the stairs each morning of advent to open a calendar door which reveals a Hot Wheels toy car, a Julia Donaldson book, football cards, clothing for a Barbie doll or endless boxes of plastic jewellery – better known as tat.

It’s beyond me why any parent would support – or pay for – this.

writes one of our letterwriters.

The calendars count down to a day when children will receive loads of gifts. But many parents apparently believe that it’s fine to shell out a fortune for a calendar that will help to fill their houses with tat long before the big day itself arrives.

Heading towards Christmas, we then come across local holidays like St Martin and St Nicholas, on which children are also already showered with gifts. It was that St. Martin who was much against those who did not want to accept Jesus as their god. He became a missionary in the provinces of Pannonia and Illyricum (now in the Balkan Peninsula), where he opposed Arianism.

Legend holds that while he was still in the military and a catechumen of the faith, Martin cut his cloak in half to share it with a beggar. That night, he dreamed that Jesus himself was clothed with the torn cloak. When he awoke, the garment was restored. Moved by this vision and apparent miracle, Martin immediately finished his religious instruction and was baptized at age 18. {Encyc. Britannica}

The whole commercial market plays with that idea of selling as much as possible under the mom of giving gifts to brighten everybody’s mind. Mind you, it’s not just the children who are targeted by the calendar companies. The letterwriter writes

I know many grown-ups who are eyeing up which wine, cheese, tea or beauty advent calendar they want to snap up for themselves. Tiny boxes of cosmetics packaged as a beauty advent calendar retail for more than £100 – or many times that in luxury-land.

In lots of supermarkets and speciality chain stores one can find luxury advent calendars.

On so many levels not only she thinks these excessive calendars send the wrong message at a time of year when so many claim to be thinking of others or extending the arm of the charity. Of that charity of the Christian concept is not much to notice. We mainly see the own fulfilment of getting as much stuff as possible.

Normally in Christian thought, the highest form of love, signifying the reciprocal love between God and man that is made manifest in the unselfish love of one’s fellow men. It is all about giving something to someone without hoping or requesting to have something in return. St. Paul’s classical description of charity can be found in the New Testament (I Cor. 13). In Christian theology and ethics, charity (a translation of the Greek word agapē, also meaning “love”) is most eloquently shown in the life, teachings, and death of Jesus Christ. For that reason, it would not be wrong to have a special time of the year giving attention to such acts of charity. And in those cold and darker days to come, it could give some warmth to many hearts.

Looking at those living in the West, it looks like they have not much to complain about. Even now when so many are talking about the cost of living crisis, we still have so many goods around us that we do not necessarily need. Today we better think about the needs of the people living in Ukraine, Pakistan and many African countries who have to face the difficulties of warfare, droughts, flooding, and famine. Would it not be better to talk about the difficulties those people have to endure, instead of having our kids showered with gifts?

Strangely, many Christians who observe Advent claim that they do mortification to reflect on poverty and difficulties in the world. So why, if we are trying to exist more sustainably, why do we sanction more needless stuff flooding our homes?

There are already enough small cars and Lego bricks underfoot in my house and I’d argue that plenty of these advent innards are discarded minutes after they’ve been opened.

admits our letterwriter.

She also reminds us of the exorbitant cost there is and says

Call me Scrooge, but I’ll stretch to a few quid for a chocolate advent calendar for each of my kids – no one’s getting one worth £30 or more to observe the passing of advent. There are stockings to fill with little treats and toys – why would I blow that budget before December 1?

She also has every good reason to believe this recent advent trend encourages in our children the attitude of wanting more and more all the time.

What message does it send to our sons and daughters when they can open a present on each day of advent?

It just ramps up the pressure for Christmas Day itself and an expectation of bigger, better and pricier presents.

We wonder if this is the idea we want to give to the next generations.

Her letter continues:

I’m surprised there hasn’t yet been an advent calendar backlash. This year, more than ever before, we are mindful of how our hard-earned cash is spent. Many of us have been holding off switching on the heating and madly Googling how best to cook the dinner without using excess energy. So why keep up with this wasteful trend when spare cash is scarce?

We also see lots of people getting stressed by questioning what they should buy for St. Nicholas, Christmas and end-of-the-year presents. The month of December seems to be all about decorating houses, buying gifts, providing good food and drink. What at all, this has to do with the birth of Jesus is anyone’s guess.

We, as students of the Bible know all too well that this has little or nothing to do with Biblical truths and Biblical expectations. For we are supposed to keep away from all these pagan customs and must not fall into the trap of Mammon, the temptation of greed.

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Preceding

  1. A “seed” for the blessing of all mankind would come through the family of Abraham
  2. The Telegraph Frontpage for 2022 November 29

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Additional reading

  1. A “seed” for the blessing of all mankind would come through the family of Abraham (Our World)
  2. More than just a man with authority of speaking
  3. Authority from the One God to one mediator between God and men
  4. A voice cries out: context
  5. Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today
  6. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  7. Objects around the birth and death of Jesus
  8. Beginning of a festival of lights
  9. Thanksgivukkah and Advent
  10. People believing they need to celebrate the birth of God
  11. The imaginational war against Christmas
  12. Trying to Get Rid of Holy Days for a Long Time
  13. The no one or nothing in the darkness

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Related

  1. Traditions
  2. How Holy are the Holidays?
  3. Why Christmas?
  4. In Treacherous Times
  5. Did St. Gregory the Great invent the season of Advent?
  6. No Peeking!
  7. November 29
  8. Poem 145- (This is) Our Christmas Song
  9. (EN) (HU) (SK) NEW Advent Wreath for your Window
  10. Advent Calendars 2022 – Day -2
  11. Remembering the Radically Different Worldview Birthed at Advent
  12. The Kingdom is at Hand | An Advent Guest Post
  13. A Throne of Lies or Grace: How To Spot the Real God
  14. Season of Advent, Yr C, 2022 – Second Sunday: Old Testament Passage – Hope Springs From That Which Has Lost Hopeè
  15. The spirit of Advent
  16. A Song of Advent
  17. The Advent Candle of Hope
  18. Week 1: Tuesday
  19. Tuesday, First Week of Advent
  20. 1st Tuesday of Advent
  21. First Week of Advent: Options
  22. Tuesday, Advent 1:  Waiting and Watching
  23. A Chesterton advent contra mundo
  24. Advent Calendars: So Much More than Chocolate.
  25. Morning Musing: Luke 1:17
  26. On the Eve of Advent
  27. Advent just began and I’m behind already
  28. Five Ways to Use Truth for the Day Christmas Advent Scripture Cards
  29. Adventia, day 3
  30. Advent, Day 3: Come Christmas
  31. Advent: Day 3 – The Long-Awaited Visitation
  32. Expect Christ: Day 3
  33. Day #3: A Way in the Desert
  34. Jesse Tree – 3rd Day of Advent
  35. Advent Series: A Pinterest-Worthy Nursery?
  36. Advent 2022–Day Three
  37. Advent: O Little Town of Bethlehem (Ruth 1)
  38. The Satisfied Heart
  39. The Peace of Divine Purpose (Advent 2022)
  40. It’s okay to simplify Christmas
  41. Christmas Movie Advent Calendar
  42. Christmas Returning
  43. A Gift For You This Christmas…

Published by Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

Bible Students: Believers looking in and studying the Bible to find the Truth, reason and the essence of life. - Onderzoekers van de Bijbel: Gelovigen in Bijbel zoekend naar het begin, reden van leven, zin en onzin in de wereld en op zoek naar de Waarheid.

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