Advent

Dec 02, 2011 by
Advent   image 9 for royal wedding 1981 prince charles and princess diana gallery 16692024
Image Source: Daily Mirror.

Advent is taken from the Latin word Adventus, and refers to the coming of the Messiah. It is a period of waiting; in Christian terms, it refers both to the Hebrews waiting for the coming of the Messiah and to the Christians waiting for Christ's Second Coming, which ties the season to various eschatological fears about the end of the world.  It is, in fact, a great religious countdown; and in this countdown, some introspection is expected from the faithful on how things will change once the Messiah appears.

We are almost at 2012, the year that has become popularly associated with the Second Coming, the end of the world, and other apocalyptic predictions, omens about time running out, and fears of even greater cataclysmic change. As a result of this spiritual tradition, Advent is also a further memorial for those who are gone and for times gone past. We remember, so that we may move forward with renewed spirits. That is why Advent is also associated with ghosts, as with Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Given that, perhaps this first day of Advent could be spent thinking about what has been left behind, on the Ghosts of Christmas Past.

The 20th century is almost 12 years past. It was a horrible, blood-soaked century, with maybe four decades that provided reprives: 1900s; the 1920s; the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s; and the 1980s. In retrospect, the 1980s were the last time a large portion of citizens of wealthy countries really believed in materialism.

Times are hard. Occupy Wall Street and ugly pepper spray footage make it easy to forget how wildly popular materialism once was, and how bankers' greed was once lauded in popular culture. Even people who had second thoughts about greed being good still found the comforts of prosperity to be highly seductive. This was a New World standard that became entangled with a revival of Old World values and traditions. Of course, the 80s had a huge global counter-culture that rejected that perspective.
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