It was a big mistake. I won’t do this one again! I don’t know what I was thinking stopping into my local Wal-Mart Thanksgiving late afternoon. I had returned from a wonderful day with my family in Indianapolis and just wanted to run in for a few things. I should have known something was up when I realized the local grocery stores were closed, or, in one case, closed at4 p.m.
There were lines, and lines of people all through the store blocking the grocery aisles! Shoppers were allowed to get through “gate agents” in yellow vests. I saw people near boxes of electrical gear with their hands on two or three of those boxes. It was a kind of quiet chaos getting ready to begin! The people in line looked at me like I was from another planet. “BlackFriday” was starting Thanksgiving night at 6 p.m. I was in trouble and wondered how I was going to get out. As it turns out, if you weren’t waiting in line you were allowed to go through, albeit cautiously and watchfully. People were just standing around waiting. Some sitting on the floor looking at their phones. Some people were talking amongst themselves or with others in line. People waiting for the 6 o’clock bell.
It occurred to me that they knew something I did not. They had made a plan, they had a reason to be there and there was a goal of some product/s they were ready to buy. Because of the specific lines people were in it was obvious they were there for a certain specific item or items. There was a plan.
Advent is about waiting. Advent began Sunday and marks the 4 week period before Christmas. Advent requires a “plan”….can this be the year we don’t run full steam toward Christmas totally exhausted when we go back to work and life in January? Couldn’t we get an Advent wreath (it’s never too late) and light the candles each week? Isn’t there a devotional book nearby unused we can crack open and read? Can we give God some of the best moments of our day, rather than the last few waning moments? The answer is “Yes, we can.” Don’t make it a huge production, but simply light one candle this week, and two next week and so on. Read a few Bible passages, maybe go to the middle of the Bible and read a Psalm. Just take a small step today toward this goal, and have a plan!
Advent is a word that means “coming” and is designed to point us toward Jesus birth in Bethlehem. Not the stores, the deals, the shopping and the before-Christmas chaos. No, this season is designed to slow us up. We are to prepare our hearts to receive the grace, love and forgiveness the Christ child will bring. It’s a free gift, one that you open daily, not waiting for it to be on sale, not Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but now, today. Open and receive and share your gifts with others!
St. Vincent Clay (Brazil)
St. Vincent Seton Specialty (Indianapolis)