Repent and expect

Tis the season for columnists to write their annual grumpy columns about how the season is misused. Here's my contribution. Advent, a time of penitence and expectation, should not be skipped over in the rush to Christmas. But why grump about the misuse of a season that hardly gets observed at all? Back when Christians were sometimes penitent and full of expectation, they did observe Advent. Now? Quick: name an Advent hymn in your hymnal. Churches might as well take that section out since many congregations start singing the Mall's Greatest Christmas Carol Hits on the first Sunday after Thanksgiving. Col­umnists don't know Advent exists, and each year fewer Christians do. Message: repent ye, and expect.

My second complaint relates to Thanksgiving. The stores, having resacralized Halloween, have not exploited this holiday. So it offers real potential for creative penitence and, if not expectation, then reminiscence. Gratitude is the theme of the day.


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