The word “advent” comes from the Latin words for “to come” or “to approach”. Advent is a time when we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Savior. It is a time to focus on our sin and our repentance and our inability to save ourselves: on our dire need for the Christ!

But, as with much of the rest of the season, that meaning has been lost. While American society has successfully “McDonaldized” the rest of the world (or at least made good in-roads to so doing), the society has done a good job of “Wal-Martizing” Advent. No longer do we prepare for the coming King. Instead, we prepare for the gift wrapping!

The second step in the Wal-Martization of Christmas is the gutting of true meaning. As we fight the “Happy Holiday’s/Merry Christmas” wars, many appear to be unaware that the battle was lost when Christmas became XMas, and gifts for our loved ones became more important than gifts for the Lord.

The Catholic Encyclopedia has a good write-up on Advent. It starts out with:

With Advent the ecclesiastical year begins in the Western churches. During

this time the faithful are admonished:

* to prepare themselves worthily to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord’s

coming into the world as the incarnate God of love,

* thus to make their souls fitting abodes for the Redeemer coming in Holy

Communion and through grace, and

* thereby to make themselves ready for His final coming as judge, at death and at the end of the world.

With radical Atheism and Islam growing widespread, and mainstream Christianity more worried about whether or not gays can get married, perhaps the Body of Christ ought not focus on anything BUT it’s need for a Savior, for THE Savior.

Maybe, in all this confusion, we’ve lost sight of serving Jesus. Maybe, we’ve become so focused on buying gifts, that we’re rejecting the free Gift from God.

Wal-Mart, I’ve got nothing against you, but the Body of Christ needs to stop its adulterous affair with you, and prepare Herself for the return of the Bridegroom.