Sunday, November 29, 2009

Shopmas and John the Baptist: An Advent Message from the Bishop of South Carolina

Dear Friends,
It’s a lot like bringing the boxes of Christmas decorations out of the attic or wherever you have them stored. Like pulling the Christmas sweaters from the wardrobe closet—that to my mind is the way the Church, each Advent, drags him out of the liturgical mothballs. His given name is John bar Zechariah. You know him as John the Baptist. He is completely out of step with what I have dubbed the Shopmas season. That is a word I coined some years ago to describe the season that begins the day after Thanksgiving and lasts until December 31th. It is celebrated with lights, glitter, cards, parties, presents, and most of all shopping accompanied by holiday music. It is enchanting how puissant such songs as “Winter Wonderland” or “White Christmas” can be for the shopkeeper’s business. Some preachers complain about this festive celebration. I kind of like it.

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