Skip to comments.That incredible shrinking Advent-Christmas season (Christmas should start, not end, Dec. 25)
Posted on 12/05/2005 10:36:23 PM PST by churchillbuff
The estimable Father John Jay Hughes reports that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a feature article last December 26 on how to disassemble and store Christmas decorations. As Father Hughes commented: "In my childhood, thanks to my Anglican priest-father, we were never permitted to put up the tree or any Christmas decorations until Christmas Eve. And once up, they stayed there until at least the Octave of Epiphany" (which, I'd perhaps better note, would be January 13 --- if, that is, the bishops hadn't moved Epiphany from its proper date to a nearby Sunday, a folly surpassed only by the biblical absurdity of Ascension Thursday Sunday).
Fifteen years of intense involvement with Poles and Poland has given me an even more capacious view of the Christmas season. In Poland, the decorations stay up, the Christmas carols are sung, and the celebration of the Incarnation continues until February 2, the Feast of the Presentation, or Candlemas. That's the way it was in the papal apartment in Rome between 1978 and 2004. And that's the way it will be in Poland's intact Catholic culture this year.
Railing against secular America's calendrical translation of the "Christmas season" into a period between mid-October and 8 a.m. December 26 (or whenever the post-Christmas sales start at the malls) is of less importance, though, than trying to ensure that the Church's Advent and Christmas seasons are not temporally hijacked by the surrounding culture.
If memory serves, Advent got exceedingly short shrift last year, being essentially just three weeks long: which meant 25 percent less time to reflect on the two great themes of that wonderful time --- the Second Coming and the Incarnation. Worse yet, more and more Catholic churches seemed to be succumbing to the secular redefinition of the seasons by putting up Christmas decorations during the third or even second week of Advent. The truncation was just as bad at the far end, what with the transfer of Epiphany to Sunday, January 2.
We need more Advent and Christmas, not less --- but we need them at the proper time, which is the Church's time, not Macy's time or Wal-Mart's time. Taking Advent seriously would be a good beginning.
The widespread use of Advent wreaths in churches is a welcome development. Even more welcome would be pastors actively encouraging every Catholic family to have an Advent wreath in their home, to learn the rituals of lighting it, and to pray together at the nightly lighting of the wreath during one of the most spiritually rich seasons of the Church's year of grace.
Reconstituting the liturgical calendar would also help. The Solemnity of the Epiphany belongs on January 6, period. Restoring Epiphany to its proper place would do justice to a generally neglected feast; in a nifty countercultural move, it would also stretch the Christmas season back to its proper length.
And while we're on the Epiphany, why not stretch it out, too? Bringing back, say, three "Sundays After Epiphany" would give the Church a greater opportunity to pray over the mission-to-the-nations, one of the great themes embedded in the Lord's "epiphany." What's the rush to get to "Ordinary Time" (an ill-advised moniker if ever there was one)? Wouldn't it be spiritually beneficial to spend more time in that extraordinary time marked by Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany?
Let's be different. Let's let liturgical time define this unique time of the year.
I couldn't agree more.
Orthodox, Catholics, orthodox Alglicans, high-church Lutherans, Reformed Christians:
UNITE for Advent! Christmas STARTS on 12/25!
Get the Pings out!
Our tree and lights stay up through the twelve days of Christmas and come down after Epiphany (which celebrates the arrival of the Wise Men bearing gifts to the Christ Child), January 5th, I believe.
Advent consists of the weeks before Christmas when one is preparing for and anticipating the arrival of the baby Jesus.
To get technical Jesus was born while his parents were traveling to pay their taxes, hence the crowded Inn, where other taxpayers were crowded. This probably happened in the Summer time, but somebody messed up the Calendar and we celebrate on Dec. 25... So maybe we should celebrate it in July or something.
I never before knew about the tax issues involved with the
the birth of Jesus.
Because of the reference to 'shepards watching their flocks
at night', I believe Jesus was born in the spring.
Jesus was born on April 15th.
Then you get a 'Happy Season' card wishing you a 'Joyous Holiday' from a friend. Even the picture on the card has nothing related to the birth of Christ. What is strange is that she is a Catholic.
It is confusing. I think people are brain washed.
My cards always have a Christmas message, a Christmas design (e.g. not just a pretty house in the snow)but more importantly, always a scripture somewhere. How can they believe if they do not hear? Once a year I can at least put out something out of God's scripture so I take advantage of that.
When I was in my 20's I sent a lot of the fun stuff (Santa and so on) but after I renewed my commitment to our Lord, I ttake the Christmas season with a little more solemnity.
Christ is the reason for the season, how is it that we have allowed the PC crowd dictate otherwise.
I though the same thing and asked a priest who had spent much time in the Holy Land. He told me that there is plenty of forage left in the fields at the start of winter to graze flocks.
Hey, these people are just advocating moving the season up so that Christmas BEGINS the season. I say, expand it both ways! We get our tree soon after Thanksgiving. We keep it up until after New Years. We light an Advent Wreath and read the Bible and sing songs. We play Christmas music. Make a month of it, in other words!
It's a little disgusting to go to bed on Christmas evening, and hear the radio stations already back to playing their regular music. Just chucking the Christmas stuff as soon as the clock strikes midnight.
Sheesh. I see it all the time myself though. Sometimes when I see what is happening I think of Noah and what was going on and how the people just kept getting married, working basicallyliving their lives, totally oblivious to the deluge to come. Not that they had a chance though.
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I agree the Christmas season starts December 25th, well maybe Christmas Eve night.
What say we follow this schedule? No pressure until later this month. Wouldn't that be nice? :)
To get really technical, we must celebrate the birth of Christ everyday, without exception, Amen.