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TREY BAILEY: A cure for Christmas chaos
Trey Bailey
Trey Bailey

‘Tis the season for tangled lights, maxed-out credit cards, and the special kind of existential dread that usually kicks in around the holidays. As we dash towards Christmas at warp speed, it might be a good idea to slam on the brakes for a minute and ask ourselves: Have we accidentally ditched something essential in the chaos of consumerism and personal stress that’s become the trademark of our modern celebrations?

In our race for the perfect gift and the most Instagram-worthy decorations, it seems like we’ve unintentionally stepped off the Christmas train and onto the express route of chaos. We’ve traded in the sacred art of waiting for the convenience of Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping.

Now, let’s wind the clock back about a millennium, to a time when online shopping was as improbable as an apartment on every corner of Covington. Picture a world where the rhythm of life wasn’t dictated by delivery dates but by something called the liturgical calendar. This calendar, followed by many Christian denominations, is a choreography of seasons and celebrations that brings a sacred cadence to the passage of time.

And here’s my confession—for years I’ve been wandering in the wilderness of liturgical calendar ignorance. I’ve missed out on the rich history and the soulful tempo it brings to the faith journey. Only recently have I been gifted insight into its splendor by Anglican, Episcopalian, and Catholic friends.  Their seasonal church traditions and complementing personal devotions woke me up and injected some life into my faith, connecting it to something ancient and profound. 

Reflecting on the years when December was nothing but a blur of hustle without the intentional pauses of Advent, there’s a genuine mourning for those missed opportunities for deeper reflection and communal worship. It’s a lament for the seasons gone by, but it’s also a clarion call to seize the transformative power of Advent in the years ahead.

Now, Advent—the season we’re all speedily breezing past in our quest for the perfect tree and the most extra gifts—has been a cornerstone of this calendar for over a thousand years. But what is Advent, and why should it matter when our idea of patience is waiting five seconds for the YouTube ad button to switch to “Skip Ad”?

Advent, from the Latin word “adventus,” means arrival or coming. It’s a season of expectant waiting, a strategic pause before the grand Christmas finale. In a world that’s all about instant everything, Advent invites us to savor the joy of anticipation, to relish the beauty of patience.

Why have Christians clung to this tradition for a millennium? Because Advent is not merely a quaint relic of the past; it’s a timeless remedy for the malaise of our modern celebrations. In our mad dash to buy, wrap, and binge-watch holiday specials, we’ve forgotten the profound joy that comes from waiting, from hopeful expectation.

The perks of Advent? They’re not just personal but also communal. On a personal level, it’s the ultimate counter-narrative to the chaotic pace of the season. It’s a chance to hit pause, reflect, and rediscover the real meaning of Christmas. In a world drowning in noise and distractions, Advent is that still, small voice reminding us that the deepest joy isn’t found in a shopping cart but in the anticipation of the One who brings ultimate joy.

And on the communal front, Advent binds us together in a shared experience of waiting, connecting us across time and space with generations of believers who, for a thousand years, found solace and hope in this sacred season. In a society that’s all about selfies and individual influencing, Advent throws us a lifeline of collective purpose and shared identity.

So, what’s the game plan for the modern church, especially those of the evangelical persuasion? It’s time to reclaim the richness of historic Advent celebrations—the rituals, the readings, the intentional waiting. It’s a call to resist the gravitational pull of consumerism and secularism, to swim against the current of instant gratification, and rediscover the joy of patient expectation.

In a world that often turns Christmas into a glittery transaction, Advent is our call to arms. It’s a counter-cultural declaration that our deepest longings aren’t found in the chaos of a shopping mall but in the humble manger.

So, as we race toward Christmas with our face on fire, here’s the challenge: Consider joining in some local church Advent worship services, where the ancient rhythms of waiting come alive in a symphony of community. And in those quiet moments when you’re reflecting solo, dive into the world of Advent devotional scripture readings. Rediscover the joy of waiting, the beauty of anticipation, and the profound truth that Christmas isn’t just a day—it’s a season, a season that’s best enjoyed when we savor the waiting as much as the celebration.

[For a simple introduction to Advent and additional resources for personal/family devotion, check out]

Trey Bailey is a lifelong Newtonian, father of three teenage girls, a local pastor, and the District 1 Representative on the Newton County Board of Education. To read more of his thoughts on religion, community, public education, ramblings about life, and inspirational messages, check out his blog at