Occupy Advent

November 27, 2011

Food for Thought

We all know of the movements of Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Minneapolis.   I propose another, decidedly Catholic, movement: Occupy Advent!

As early as Halloween, I started seeing Christmas ads on TV  and hearing Christmas music in stores and on the radio. I am no Scrooge – I love Christmas as much as the next person but I don’t think that holding Christmas in our hearts all year means to fall away to the commercialism of the secular season!

By missing this most important time of the liturgical year that calls us for preparation and waiting, we rush right into the Christmas season without the Christmas heart. The art and discipline of waiting is lost on our generation of “Give it to me now” attitudes. I am guilty myself when I find myself waiting more than 5 seconds for my computer to respond! A happening which gives me much fodder for the confessional. Which reminds me – celebrating the Sacrament of confession is another beautiful way to prepare during this season of waiting.

Advent waiting is anything but somber – we are waiting, but we are waiting for Christ so it is always a joyful waiting. So put away the Red and Green and let the first greenery that you bring into the house be an Advent wreath (If you missed the first week – jump in now!).

We need to bravely take back this time. I am not proposing to stand outside and hold a protest – rather hold off on putting up the tree, hold off on the Christmas carols, hold off on the parties and festivities… at least until Gaudette Sunday (That is the week that the priests wear the pink – I mean rose – colored garments. The term Gaudete refers to the word “Rejoice”. Rose vestments are worn to emphasize our joy that Christmas is near. Where as Advent as a whole is a bit penitential – by the time we get to the 3rd week – we can throw in a bit of rejoicing!) And when your neighbors ask why you haven’t lit up your outdoor lights yet – tell them you are participating in Occupy Advent.

Not sure what Advent is about? Check out this 2 minute video from Busted Halo:

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Be brave!

What are some of your favorite Advent traditions? Please share them with me! We need to band together in Occupy Advent!

Maybe we should have T-Shirts made!

About Sharon O'Connell-Wilson

I am a wife to my husband Dave and mother to my children Courtney and Gabe. I have a degree in education and have worked as a teacher, in advertising, radio, retail buyer and in youth advocacy – I even rode an elephant in the circus once! I am a “cradle” Catholic who didn’t really know my faith until my adulthood. On fire with my faith and love for God I dove into parish life at Divine Mercy Catholic Church in Faribault, Minnesota. Once I dove in, I began to realized I needed to learn how to swim! Patient priests and friends as well as the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute helped me to learn the strokes. I love talking about my faith and learning more about the great gift of being Catholic. I write, speak and promote for WINE:Women In the New Evangelization. Find it at www.CatholicVineyard.com

View all posts by Sharon O'Connell-Wilson
  • Mary

    We wait till Gaudete Sunday to put up our tree. And this year I decided I will light up one part of our holiday lights per week of Advent, until the final piece, the star, gets lit on Christmas.

  • Ann

    Mary, that’s a very cool idea!


    Four years ago our then 11 year old son suggested his dad build a giant Advent wreath for our front porch roof. I loved the idea and Dad complied; he sculpted 3ft candles, wired up flame-like bulbs, and set them in a garland wreath with small colored lights. We “light” one bulb each Sunday, and the snow nestles atop the wreath. The neighbors have come to anticipate it’s annual arrival on the roof!

    And like Mary, I too wait until Guadete Sunday before putting up the tree. Then it remains bare until the teenage kids are inspired to decorate, usually over a few evenings.

    Also, I strip the dining and living room of wall hangings and nick nacks and put nothing up (except for the Advent calendar and pillows) until MY heart is inspired to decorate, and on one night after everyone’s in bed I put up everything. Then, a few hours after I fall in to bed I hear the family’s ooows and aaahs as they descend the stairs in the morning.

  • Jen

    I am an artist and this year I decided to do a reflection and daily painting based on advent readings on my blog. It’s been a lot of work but I have enjoyed the focus of keeping God in the forefront. You can find my musings at www (dot) jennortonartstudio (dot com) /blog/