The Christian mystery of the Incarnation can never be contemplated without a quick glance forward to his Second Coming, at which Jesus will judge the “quick and the dead.” This helps push back a little more firmly against the culture for the nurture and cultivation of those graces of patience, selflessness, mercy, which are frequently threatened by the consumer superficiality that marks our current season. The secularization of Christmas relentlessly plays to the weakness of our being, and would pluck from us the fruit of the spirit.
Advent 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.
Advent piety intuitively understands that it is not possible to celebrate coherently 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.