Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pre-advent advent....What do you think?

So I know a lot of people at least say that they get annoyed with Christmas stuff going up in October alongside Halloween stuff. But are they really annoyed? Or does the culture of the times get to them and they decide oh maybe I should get this now so I can be more prepared for the season. But why do we do this? I kind of feel that the economy partially drives the way we celebrate our religious holidays and not in a good way. But what is behind all this madness? Is it the sense that we need to make an extra buck? Does that person really another candy cane or body lotion? Does our bathroom door need that red bow on it? Why are we like this?

Maybe I am a little too extremist when I don't want to say that things prior to Christmas are Christmas parties, but insist that they are Advent parties. Because truthfully Christmas doesn't start till the 25th. I actually enjoy doing last minute shopping for things, and not putting my Christmas tree up till the 24th if possible. Unfortunately the commercial aspect of Christmas sometimes doesn't allow me to wait till the 24th to get a tree, and thus I am forced to get it a few days before so that they don't decide to get rid of all their trees. But then I decorate it as late as possible, so that I can really enjoy Christmas as Christmas, instead of advent as Christmas. It's slightly ironic, we do all this partying and decorating for ourselves when Jesus hasn't arrived yet, but then once he does, a day later we as a culture strip everything bare. Maybe this is reflective of what we think of our Savior. I would hope not, but sometimes I am not so optimistic about us as Americans.

Mostly for myself, I think besides the influence of commercialism, I think its a lack of knowledge about Christmas. You think we would get Christmas because it comes every year, and we do so much prep for it, its a bit crazy. But do we really get it? We get the giving thing and the being kind thing and the helping out thing. But really if Christmas is over on the 25th as for most it is in our society, doesn't it become disappointing once the presents are unwrapped and the ham or turkey eaten? What's left? I remember as a kid always hating Christmas day, I for one acted terrible when it came to gifts, but the highlight was always going to Christmas Eve service together and singing Silent Night. And since I knew nothing about an ongoing celebration, I was saddened when the presents were done, because everyone went about their own way afterward. I wish I had known that Christmas extended itself to a season that only begins on the 25th. That I should be excited for at least 12 days. But in our culture no one really knows that there is a time-line, that the gifts didn't come till Epiphany. Is this really important, maybe not to some people. But now that I know I thoroughly enjoy celebrating in a way that Jesus' presence really is celebrated. And to just do stuff prior to Christmas that focuses on us, and maybe a few others, instead of Jesus, instead of really trying to prepare ourselves for his coming doesn't make much sense. So where does the lack of knowledge come from.

I think it comes from the wanting to make things simple view on Christianity. Since, I am a former protestant, I blame my former self and lack of knowledge I had of the correct celebration and since our country has such a Protestant tone to it, this makes total sense. At least half of Protestants do not celebrate advent, and most do not celebrate Christmas past the 25th. Come the Sunday after the 25th of December, no carols are sung, little decoration is left and its all back to what we would call ordinary time in the Catholic church. Oh, Martin Luther, if only knew what the effects of what you were doing in your insanity would be. But if it wasn't Mr. Luther, then it would have been someone else, Henry VIII for example, who decided that their personal beliefs were stronger than that of the church that Jesus left us.

So maybe I care too much. But I like celebrating Advent as advent, as a time to prepare oneself for Jesus, and I like celebrating Christmas as if Jesus really is here and is worth more than just one day of celebration but at least 12. The only decoration I plan to pull out in the next week or actually make, since I usually make it, is an advent calendar. If we acquire a wreath I will put that out too, but right now we don't have one.

What do you think about the way Christmas is celebrated in America?

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