The piety of Advent is shaped by the realization that the world
waited a very long time for the Messiah. The first thing we learn therefore is patience. Christian faith is characterized by what is, for Western Christians, a maddening requirement that we slow down and wait on the Lord.
The piety of Advent is also shaped by the fact that when Messiah came, it was first to the lowly, the marginalized, the unimportant. A poor Galilean girl, her hardworking husband, shepherds and the like. Walking with the Lord should put us into meaningful contact with the same kind of people. This is the heart of God.
The piety of Advent thus gives us a motivation and a means to “hit back” against the grossly commercialized and indulgent habits of secular “pieties” of the sacred season. It really is hard to overstate the distraction that mass advertising is to the true peace and comfort this season is intended to cultivate.
Feeling stressed at Christmas? You didn’t get the right gift yet? Does your gift have to be ordered on the internet now in order to get here on time? Is this complicating your life? You’re probably missing the whole point.