Phil Groom writes:
I’ve just stumbled across a rather challenging post from Paul Collings, a Methodist Minister in Exeter: Has Advent become a non-event?
Recently, a long established Christian Bookshop in Exeter, UK has closed and I sometimes wonder if I had to anything to do with its demise, by once suggesting to the manager that he should sell a different kind of Advent Calendar.
In the UK, we share the German Lutheran tradition of Advent Calendars where children of all ages open one door each day to receive a chocolate treat. I merely suggested that the bookshop should create calendars with empty compartments into which we place thoughts, gift promises and prayers. Perhaps it did not catch on! Or is it that today’s society is actually saying, “It is better to give than receive, as long as I’m still on the receiving end.”
Paul’s challenge is there for all of us: will we ever learn to give purely as givers, without expecting some sort of return? What effect would it have on our nation’s economy if everyone started giving without expecting to receive?
I don’t think Paul’s suggestion had anything to do with the shop’s demise, but I was struck by how accurately his idea seems to sum up the problem with the Brewers’ attitude to the former SPCK Bookshops: as if they see the entire chain as their own personal chocolate-filled advent calendar from which they can take, take, take, but never put anything in…