Monday, November 30, 2009

Advent- and so it begins!

Everyone has commented this year especially that every year there seems to be a concerted effort to extend the Christmas shopping season. I don’t know if there’s anything concerted about it or not. I don’t mean to imply that there is something necessarily sinister about it. It’s just that every year it gets longer. This year it seemed to me that as soon as Halloween arrived we were asked to think of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas as the holiday season.

Now, I understand that merchants and shopkeepers certainly rely on the income from Christmas to support them business the whole year. And, I know many of them and they are not evil people. They are people who are simply trying to make a living.

Sunday, November 29, the season of Advent began with the lighting of the first Advent candle. Advent is the church’s way of saying: “slow down, take it all in, think, pray, reflect.”

Advent marks the beginning of the church’s year when we begin telling the story all over again. The color is purple and is about majesty, royalty, and repentance. The king is coming to visit; get ready. Make preparations. And, keep your eyes open for where he might appear to you.

I imagine that this year will be a little different for most of us. For one, we are given permission to think of this season and how to celebrate it with less concern for gifts and more concern with giving.

This year, some of my church folk, asked if we might do something to help children. We investigated and found that last year in Spartanburg County the Salvation Army had care for 1300 children’s Christmas needs. This year, they have some 3000 to care for.

So, we put out an angel tree with fifty children’s names and they were all picked the first Sunday. We got some more and people are still pulling them.

The problem for all of us is not that there is crass commercialization out there. We don’t have to wait for Christmas for that. There are always those out there who are simply out to get to your money.

The problem is when we don’t say anything more or give anything more or share anything more at Christmas so that the real story of Christmas is not displayed and preached and shared. So, pray, and love, and share, and give as you always do, all to the honor of the one who comes among us as a baby.

Dave Nichols


  1. Hey are you a professional journalist? This article is very well written, as compared to most other blogs i saw today….
    anyhow thanks for the good read!

  2. Thanks for the response. And, thanks for reading my blog. I just love to wrote. God bless!



Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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