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Christmas can be a time of real stress and pressure for many families, as people find the traditional commercialised Christmas putting a squeeze on their family finances. The season of Advent can provide an escape from all that and an opportunity to reclaim the true spirit of Advent.
‘Advent is the traditional month of preparation before Christmas, a time of fasting and intense prayer, a time of eager expectation. It is above all a time to celebrate waiting as a normal part of human experience, when the Christian tradition invites us to wait for the birth of a child. In Advent we rejoice that we are waiting, that there is still time to prepare a way for the Lord and we celebrate the virtue of patience. By contrast, the consumer world tells us not to wait but to ‘buy now.’ Greed cannot wait, so to learn to wait is a simple antidote to greed.’
Fr Christopher Jamison
This advent, we want PROPHETS, not PROFITS!
Advent was traditionally a period of penitence and quiet anticipation. But now it seems no more than four weeks of frenzied consumption in which stress, needless debt and damage to God’s creation have become its defining hallmarks. 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will be thrown away this Christmas. We’ll use 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper. Countless unwanted “gifts” will end up, at best in the charity shops and at worst, in the landfill. If Jesus returned at Christmas, what would he make of us doing all of this in His name?
We live in hard times. So now is the time to stop before we shop and to think about our actions. This Advent we can do things differently.
We vow to live simply that others might simply live. We will endeavour to pause and reflect on the miracle that is God-among-us. We will share the gift of ourselves with the lonely and those in our circle of family and friends who’d gain more from the gift of ourselves rather than some off-the-shelf present.
We pledge to honour our earthly home and the gift of God’s creation by trying to live more sustainably.
And we will reject mindless materialism and instant gratification. We will put ‘the waiting back into wanting’.