November Church Magazine Article for 'Reclaim Christmas':
Advent: Putting the waiting back into wanting
Do you feel at all stressed by the coming of Christmas? Are you troubled about all the money you still have to spend on presents and food, decorations and travel? If we let it, the financial crisis will just add to this anxiety, making us more worried about all the money we are spending. That's if we let it. How about if we don't? How about if we use the credit crunch to make us reign-in our spending, to turn our focus away from buying stuff and reclaim the true spirit of Advent!
*As Fr Christopher Jamison (BBC "Monastery") writes in his forthcoming book:
"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."*
So this Advent, why not pray now and buy later? And while you are praying, make some of these great alternative presents from the Canadian web site www.buynothingchristmas.org :
Create coupons for a massage, spring cleaning, child-minding, a lesson on something you are skilled in etc.
Knit a stocking, hat, socks, etc.
Videotape and interview your parents about childhood memories, how they met, etc., and give to siblings or children.
Bake some treats and pack in a recycled container.
Frame a piece of your artwork.
Give away a valued possession.
Make a puppet from a sock.
Make a calendar with pictures of family members and/or scenery.
Make a soothing, herb pillow filled with lavender, rose, etc.
Make a birdseed ball.
Make hand-made soap or candles.
From Operation Noah's 'Reclaim Christmas' campaign.
For more inspiration and ideas go to www.operationnoah.org
*this section may be omitted if short of space