I was walking through the mall a few weeks ago and this thought came to mind: “Marketing rules our world.” We see the marketing gurus planning months in advance for the next big sales day.
- Valentine’s Day in December
- Summer in March
- Back to School in June
- Halloween in August
- Thanksgiving in September
- Christmas in October
Christmas is the biggest one of them all. For months, we see commercials and decorations that are all pointing to the big day, and, somehow, “the big day” is no longer Christmas, but what is known as Black Friday. Why are we marketed to this way? Because companies want to prepare us for the next big sales season. They want us to be in the right mind-set, to be prepared to engage fully in what the stores are offering each season, and to spread the word to as many people as possible, because they want to reach those who may not hear the good news.
This, in a way, is Advent. The Church wants us to spend time preparing for Christmas, to engage in all of the opportunities the Church offers, and to spread the word to as many people as possible, because they want to reach those who may not hear the good news. As a child, I looked at the Advent wreath at church as a countdown to Christmas. The more fire there was, the closer we were to the day of swimming in wrapping paper. I also had an Advent calendar every year where I would rip open the door each day to get a chocolate. I never read what was on the inside, because it was always about the reward and not about the preparation.
How do we get our children, and even adults, excited about the preparation? It is all about falling in love with Christ and being captivated by his story. Look at the retail marketing gurus and how they are successful because they keep what they want us to focus on right in front of us. We can do the same by simply keeping Christ at the forefront of our lives and in our relationships with others. Talk about his story; know all of the opportunities your parish is offering during Advent and personally invite others to participate with you; engage in the different opportunities as a family; get an Advent wreath for your home and use it as a time to pray as a family. Christmas is an exciting time, so be excited!
On the day after Christmas, the people who are standing in those long returns lines who seem to be losing their Christmas joy in the fog of all the business, we can be that light, much like Rudolph is for Santa, to help them see their way to the true meaning of Christmas.
Director of the Office for Youth and Young Adult Ministry