Wrapping up our discussion of Advent, we consider the acknowledgement that consumerism has invaded December.
105. Popular piety, because of its intuitive understanding of the Christian mystery, can contribute effectively to the conservation of many of the values of Advent, which are not infrequently threatened by the commercialization of Christmas and consumer superficiality.
Remember those values we discussed several days ago: waiting, conversion, and joyful hope. (Cf. DPPL 96) These are reiterated here, and include the concern for the needy. One aspect of secular culture which we must admit is in alignment is the spirit of generous giving found in many quarters. Charity is a start, but justice is a necessary grounding, as we read:
Popular piety perceives that it is impossible to celebrate the Lord’s birth except in an atmosphere of sobriety and joyous simplicity and of concern for the poor and marginalized. The expectation of the Lord’s birth makes us sensitive to the value of life and the duties to respect and defend it from conception. Popular piety intuitively understands that it is not possible coherently to celebrate the birth of him “who saves his people from their sins” without some effort to overcome sin in one’s own life, while waiting vigilantly for Him who will return at the end of time.
Why justice? Because the Christian life is about more than concrete events. The example of the incarnation suggests that Christ came not to intervene in particular lives at one moment in history. His coming among us suggests a total change in how human beings live–from his own example, and that impulse to make things right.
The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy is online at the Vatican site.