The arrival of Black Friday has probably signalled the death knell of Advent as the season it used to be – a time of abstinence and expectation. It’s been in terminal decline throughout my lifetime and there’s not really any point in trying to keep it on life-support. Christmas has won, and the season of Christmas now stretches from the “Light Switch-on”, through all the school nativities and carol concerts, up to Christmas Day and then abruptly stops.
So let’s not keep fighting a battle we can’t win, and instead change the season to a “One Thought” season. By which I mean, a time that we commit ourselves to holding on to one intention despite all the business – to start the day with a prayer, to learn more about a charity I support, to pray for one person I know each day – the point being not to feel guilty about what we are no longer doing, but to remind ourselves that it is Advent through a positive moment.
This year, that might well be to reduce my consumption of the world’s resources in one deliberate way, however tiny, each day.
Then Advent will have achieved one of its original purposes – to challenge us where we need to change.