Advent — the four-week period leading to Christmas — has been gaining recognition in recent years among Baptist churches that otherwise have given little or no attention to an observance of the Church Year.
Worship planners introducing the season marked by anticipation of and preparation for the coming Christ often have a hard time keeping the faithful from jumping ahead to the celebratory birth. Anticipation of what lies ahead is more difficult when you have previously celebrated what is coming.
But why am I writing about this now? Because the secular trappings of the season — many already highly visible — make holding off Christmas even more difficult.
Several department stores had their Christmas displays in place while the calendar was still showing September.
One Atlanta radio personality has had enough. She is making a list — and checking it twice — of stores with “elaborate Christmas displays” erected nearly a full quarter-of-a-year ahead of the holy day.
Supportive callers squeal on the various and many retailers getting a jump on the ever-expanding holiday season. However, their efforts seem more oriented toward protest than serious boycott, but who knows?
One concerned caller said she asked someone in management at a Belk store why the hurry. The response, she said, was that Macy’s was doing it, so they had to compete.
Another woman called in to report that she asked a Macy’s employee to explain the rush to get Christmas displays up, and she said it was in order to keep up with Belk.
Whatever the justification, kicking off the secular celebration of the Christmas season seems to have no limits.
Soon, perhaps, we can anticipate after-Christmas sales in June. It would be after Christmas — as well as just before the displays go up again.
For those seeking a bit of perspective amid the chaos, maybe the wreath of candles, a countdown Advent calendar or some other step-by-step observance can slow us down on our journey toward Christmas.
Of course, we won’t even unpack those items for nearly two more months. But one thing is for sure, we can’t expect to find any help at the mall.