Like a lot of clergy I know, I'm quite attached to Advent - as in, observing Advent before we celebrate Christmas. Like a lot of churches I know, my congregation is not so much into Advent. They want to sing Christmas carols in, like, July or something. I've been fighting the good fight on this one for quite some time, through a college chaplaincy and three congregations, and I've gotta say, I'm about ready to throw up my hands and just let them sing "Jingle Bells" every Sunday from November on. I'm tired. It's exhausting trying to convince people that delayed gratification is a good thing, that a time of contemplative waiting is in order before we pull out all the bells and whistles, that we really are still a people in waiting for God, that the assumed happiness of the holidays is difficult for many people, that sometimes we need a little quiet in the midst of all the cultural pressure to be jolly.
I don't want to explain these things anymore. I don't want to spend Advent fighting over every little thing. And it seems that in order to do that, I may just have to step back and say, "Fine, rush right into presents and parties and jumping for joy, and forget all about the reason it all happened in the first place."
Yes, I am feeling cynical and annoyed today, why do you ask? I have something more constructive brewing in my mind about Christmas traditions, but it'll have to wait until I can stop rolling my eyes.