Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Advent = Countdown???

Today I am doing some school planning. Mostly just sorting through the next few months' worth of schoolwork that Colin's going to do...making sure I have things I need, printing out some worksheets, requesting books from the library, organizing, that kind of thing.

But I needed a break for lunch, and while I was eating I looked at some crafty blogs and on one of them saw this. Do what??!

Okay, so maybe this one writer just made up this term to be cute. Google is my friend. Let's see: we have this here, and this here, and look...another one!

Now here's the Webster's definition of "advent":

1: the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by some Christians as a season of prayer and fasting

2 a: the coming of Christ at the Incarnation b: second coming

not capitalized : a coming into being or use Advent of spring> Advent of pasteurization> Advent of personal computers>

(Do you like how the Websters site says "not capitalized" for the 3rd definition and then capitalizes the word in the examples?)

So, maybe the 3rd definition works for these...these...Halloween Countdown Calendars. But if we stretch it like that then shouldn't they be saying "countdown calendar to the advent of Halloween"? Or "fun way to count down the days to the advent of Halloween"? But it wouldn't really be the "advent" of Halloween, now would it? The advent of this year's Halloween celebration? Maybe.

I hate to be cliched (actually I don't, do I?) but this is yet another Inigo Montoya moment. This word they keep using just doesn't mean what they think it means!

Advent Calendars are presumable derived from Advent Wreaths which were designed to commemorate Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas. Advent Calendars don't really celebrate Advent so much as serve as a countdown guide for anxious little kids waiting for Christmas Day. But they are at least tangentially related to the Advent and Christmas season.

I should clarify that I'm not arguing about this on a doctrinal or theological basis. We don't have proof that Christ was born on December 25th, and not all Christians celebrate Christmas, but some do, and both sides have strong arguments in favor of their way of doing things.

My gripe is solely about the appropriation and misuse of the word "advent". Words mean things, people. (Excuse me, I used to listen to Rush a LONG TIME AGO!)

I just read on the NASA website that the next launch of the space shuttle Endeavour (they use the British spelling?!) is scheduled for November 14th. That's also my brother's birthday...hmmm... Guess I'd better get my school work done quickly and get to work crafting a dual-purpose Endeavour Launch/David's Birthday Advent!


Natalie said...

Okay, so I thought you meant the band Rush, and I was thinking, "no, I thought you didn't like them..." and then with a little Googling figured out you meant Rush Limbaugh... Nevermind.

Beth said...

So now you're channeling Emily Litella? :)

mandolinartist aka amanda said...

I agree... This a ridiculous use of the word 'advent.' Let's not confuse most of the people in the world any more than necessary...

rebecca said...

Haha, I thought you meant the band too :)