In its Opinion Section today, USA Today includes two articles
focusing on Advent. Now that is notable all by itself. I can’t remember
when a newspaper had two, count ’em, two Advent themed articles.
But it’s not all sweetness and light. USA Today stirs the pot by looking at one issue that is already controversial in some churches: Should we sing Christmas carols in Advent? Or should we save them all for Christmas Eve and the 12-day season of
Christmastide? Some church leaders support a ban on Christmas music in
Advent. As you can imagine, this doesn’t go over really big with lots of
The second USA Today column doesn’t so much highlight an existing controversy as it seeks to start one. In her column entitled, “Advent: Let’s start to heal our planet”,
Mallory McDuff argues that Advent is a time to come up with solutions
for the problems associated with climate change. She writes, “During
this season of Advent, we must not wait for polls or votes to
harness the power of religion for the challenge of climate change. We
also need to imagine the possibilities and passions that children see in
the spirit of Advent, in glittered mangers and even an elf on a shelf.
Let every heart prepare for innovative actions grounded in a moral
imperative. The time isn’t coming. It’s here.” As of this moment, the
colors of Advent are purple, royal blue, and pink. I wonder if we should
change to green?
For the record, I’m pretty sure the folks in the first column who don’t
think we should sing Christmas carols in Advent would not be all that
excited about green candles!
So, what do you think? Should we sing Christmas carols in Advent? Should Advent focus on climate change?
You can find my thoughts about Advent in this series: Advent Introduction: What is Advent? Why Does It Matter? How Can We Celebrate It?
I explain the church year and its seasons here: Introduction to the Christian Year.