Before the solemn high Mass on the Octave Day of Christmas at St. Stanislaus in Milwaukee
In what appears to be a backlash to popular media thought in recent years, it seems like companies and pop culture has kinda moved back to not being terrified of the word “Christmas” or showing Nativity scenes during Advent.
One small personal example: Last year I remember sending a photo to friends of a sign at Home Depot saying “holiday trees”. The pathetic and transparent attempt to suppress the obvious connection to Christmas made us laugh. But this year at Home Depot the word Christmas was plastered everywhere, including on the signs for the trees! It’s likely many companies realized they took the political correctness too far. I think many companies and media executives know that people crave a more authentic Christmas experience and not a watered down secular shadow of it. Well, most people at least…
Here’s a story about a schmuck who actually complained to a restaurant because the Christmas music they were playing was too “religious”. He wrote on the back of his check that perhaps, if they were going to play Christmas music, it should be more generically holiday themed. He said he was offended by the music in fact!
The chef at Michael’s Tasting Room posted the photo on Facebook (above). It should also be hilariously pointed out that the restaurant is located in St. Augustine, Florida. Is this patron going to write the state, complaining about the religious-themed city he was dining in?
I get that some people want to celebrate the secular version of Christmas only. It’s obviously an enjoyable season even for pagans. But I find the season so desperately lacking for these people. Many parents are teaching their kids more about Elf on a Shelf than Advent. Children know more about Santa than Jesus. What do the parents tell their children when they one day ask “why do we celebrate Christmas, though?”. Don’t people want more in their lives? Don’t people feel silly doing things just for the sake of doing them? Don’t people want depth in their lives?
Let’s keep in our prayers the people who are distant from the meaning of Christmas. ☩
”The Western world has been attempting to preserve the fruits of Christianity after having surrendered the roots.”
-Bl. Fulton Sheen
Based purely on personal observation, the vast majority of Millennial parents who celebrate Christmas make sure their kids know everything there is to know about Santa Claus–what he looks like, wears, what make he thinks is good (and bad), the people around him, songs about him, etc–while almost never mentioning (if at all) Christ’s role in Christmas.
The fact that “Jesus” is often a foreign word on the tongue of a toddler but “Santa” is often a staple word in the lexicon of a two-year old is sad. The reason is because “Jesus” is a foreign word to most parents.
Santa Claus is great and fun tradition. But when he is divorced from the true nature of Christmas and, thus, removed from his roots as Saint Nicholas, Millennial parents are raising a new generation of shallow-minded consumerists.
Have fun with Santa, Rudolph, Mrs. Claus, and all the elves, but make sure your kids hear you talking about Jesus more than you talk about Santa. After all, Christmas is celebrating the most monumental day in the history of the planet…the day God took on a physical form on Earth and became man. ☩
The Advent season seems to be lost among many Christians, especially with the dominance of popular culture’s emphasis on December-long Christmas celebrating, ending immediately on December 26. Many Catholics have also lost sight of the season, especially with many parishes downplaying, if not ignoring, the penitential nature of the season. The truth is Advent is a time of preparation where we ready ourselves for the coming of Christ on Christmas.
This means practicing self-denial and taking up prayer to properly orient our souls towards the most monumental day in history, the day God became man among us. So it’s a good practice to, like Lent, give something up, take up prayer, and to do acts of charity while enjoying all the season’s traditions we cherish (both secular and Christian).
I think it would serve the Church in America well if the bishops sought to reemphasize the nature of the Advent season. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) even points this out on their website:
Changing customs, especially in connection with preparation for Christmas, have diminished popular appreciation of the Advent season. Something of a holiday mood of Christmas appears now to be anticipated in the days of the Advent season. As a result, this season has unfortunately lost in great measure the role of penitential preparation for Christmas that it once had.
and, when discussing Advent wreaths:
The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas.
So, let’s be joyful this Advent and make proper preparations for the real reason for the season, the Feast of the Nativity. That way we can celebrate all 12 days of the Christmastide properly and not be burnt out on December 26! ☩