Tuesday, December 12, 2006

String up the lights you advent people!

<----- A lighted "Advent tree" in front of my house.

You know (or maybe you don't) I'm a bit tired of all the Catholic "Adventists" out there. I usually love the Catholic radio and websites but I'm sick to death of all the people out there holding it out over our heads that they don't light their tree until Dec. 24th or put up any lights or anything until Advent is over.

On the internet I have read horror stories of bare Christmas trees, heard radio guests complain of priests allowing no festivities until Christmas Eve, and even seminarians walking around like the living dead to their classes. Although I won't post the links to protect their identities. :-)

What's the point?

Oh its not everyone, but there is a definite push by the orthodox Catholic community it seems to quell the Christmas spirit and bring back Advent with a bang. Does putting up festive, and albeit many times secular decorations for the season hurt anyone? Nope, it doesn't. In fact we have a hard enough time getting people to celebrate Christmas for what it is rather than a shop-til-you drop extravaganza. Christmas is being warred upon left and er...left.... and we're pulling people away from it to recognize Advent? First we gotta get em understanding Christmas in order to know what Advent is. The best way to do that is not to remind everyone that its not Christmas yet, so shame on you for celebrating it. The lefty secularists will eat this up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They will use this excuse all the day long to remove any references to Christmas in every public forum. Don't think that they won't.

I'm not saying don't recognize Advent. I'm not encouraging you to celebrate Christmas until December 26th and put away the tree. Put up your decorations and celebrate Advent as part of this whole season. Keep those decorations up and add to them all the way up to through the octave of Christmas and until the Epiphany. Recognize the fact that putting a manger scene outside is actually ok right now and in fact might be a good reminder for those who need to know why the heck they are standing in line at Wal*Mart for 45 minutes to buy their relatives presents. Don't want to add Jesus until Dec. 25? Thats fine. Don't want to add the wise-men until Epiphany? Good deal. Put out the stable and hay.

Advent is the time of year where we get our houses in order for the birth of Christ, both figuratively and literally. It is not officially a penitential time of year but doing a little penance doesn't hurt. So, we give something up here and there, say a few more prayers, and perhaps spend some money on loved ones rather than buy ourselves something.

So here is a little gift I give to the Adventists out there...

Recovering Adventists Checklist:
  • Put up a tree by the end of next week.
  • Add lights to it.
  • Attend at least 1 Christmas Concert before December 24th.
  • Say Merry Christmas to someone you see at a store or even at Church.
  • That wreath, it goes on the door.
  • Smile.
That should help you out just a little bit. If nothing it'll help you get out of the grump you put yourself into by being all pissy about the fact others are not celebrating Advent.

By the way, considering myself an orthodox Catholic in the making, I am all for celebrating Advent. I await his coming by enjoying this time of year to the max. I love the decorations, the spirit in the air, the hope for snow, the anticipation of giving my gifts away for Christmas, and especially the liturgy.


Mary Ann said...

Advent is a penitential season, although less so than Lent. In the Mass on Sunday, this is observed outwardly by the priest vested in purple (or pink) and the omission of the Gloria from the Mass. These practices also occur during Lent.

It seems that you think everyone should observe Advent your way. Instead, why not respect everyone's right to celebrate Advent in the way they wish, the way that brings them closest to the Lord? Perhaps for some people that means omitting decorations or lights until later in the season than you do.

Matt said...

Hi Mary Ann,

I didn't meant any sort of offense but I certainly do feel pressured to celebrate Advent in the way others want me to, which is by not celebrating anything at all.

Do you think there is a problem with catechesis today in this regard? I recently met a Catholic who was raised in the Church, still attends, but didn't know their left from their right. I can't imagine trying to explain Advent celebration -vs- Christmas to her.

Also as I mentioned, if we take "Christmas" celebration out of this season it will give the secularists another weapon for which to use against us.

So, since this is a penitential season, how do you personally observe this time of year?

Do you think there is a balance we can all achieve to make this time of year more Advent like while on our way to creating a better understanding of the Advent/Christmas time of year?

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton