This is not the Christmas season

****This is a guest post written by Chrissie Dhanagom. You can contact Chrissie here: cmdhanagom@gmail.com****

This is not the Christmas season.

Just thought I’d bring it up, because you wouldn’t know it from walking into your local Walmart, turning on the radio, or taking a stroll around the block. In fact, according to the gods of retail, it’s been Christmas since the day after Halloween. Of course there was that Thanksgiving blip in the middle but, hey, the décor meshes well enough.

This Sunday is the beginning of a time of year that many Christians have traditionally observed as a period of preparation for Christmas. It’s called Advent, which is from the Latin verb for “to come.” Christmas is soon to come, but it is not here yet.

To recognize that reality is to see that Christmas is more than just a mother and father gazing peacefully at their newborn child, surrounded by an aura of light and singing angels. It is that. But it is also the passionate human drama that preceded that event and gave it meaning.

A young girl who risked everything to carry the Incarnate God in her womb for nine months. A man who took the weight of the world on his shoulders when he became that girl’s husband. A people living in spiritual and political slavery, longing for a promised Savior. An entire world in the throes of darkness and sin, desperately in need of redemption.

If there is a holiday that is about fulfilled anticipation it is Christmas. This is why it was traditionally preceded by a season commemorating the fact that the world had to first anticipate Christ’s coming, and that it anticipates still His return.

The problem with ditching Advent and going straight to the main event is that it’s hard to experience fulfilled anticipation if you haven’t first experienced anticipation. And I’ve noticed that fulfilled anticipation makes all the best things in life so much better.

My acquaintance with life experiences is, perhaps, comparatively short, but I did recently discover that sweet potatoes tasteapproximately five million times better when roasted in the oven than in the microwave. They’re done a lot faster in the microwave, of course, but they’re mushy, bland, and possibly carcinogenic.

Oh, and I also waited until my wedding night to give myself to my husband. That’s another course of action I recommend.

The instant gratification that the modern world offers extends beyond our dinner plates and our sex lives. Thanks to the internet, we can hit “enter” and have any question answered, except, of course, the most important ones. Thanks to modern communication methods, we can say whatever we want, to whomever we want, whenever we want. Thanks to modern transportation, we can be halfway across the world in half a day.

Am I suggesting that we turn back the clock and ditch all these innovations and technologies, many of which have brought about undeniable good? No. I am suggesting that they should be tools, not lifestyle choices; that we should consider whether we need to be quite so surrounded by and dependent upon them. I am suggesting that we foster a greater awareness of the subtle effect it has on our disposition towards life to live in a paradise of effortless pleasures.

Above all, I am suggesting we could benefit greatly from a yearly reminder that instant gratification can shield us from reality and deprive us of some of life’s most satisfying experiences.

Fasting, deprivation and waiting: these are unavoidable realities and there is no reason to flinch from them. There is truly no feasting like that which comes after the fast.

Advent is the season of waiting, and so it has little place in the world of microwaves and pre-marital sex. Like good food and virginity, it is a casualty of our vending machine culture.

Let’s bring it back, shall we? Let’s reclaim Christmas for Christ by waiting for His birth to celebrate it. Let’s turn off the Christmas tunes for a minute, light a few candles (traditional Advent decorations), and play “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” It is haunting, profound, healing, and perfectly captures everything I love about this time of year.

Advent is one of my favorite seasons because I think it resonates deeply with the human condition. It is filled with the joy of the “soon to come,” but permeated with the sadness of the “not yet.” It is about embracing deprivation as an experience that ennobles and purifies, and readies us for the fulfillment of our hopes.

Christianity is a religion of fulfilled hopes, and a religion of waiting. This is one of the many ways in which it is so counter-cultural.

Israel waited thousands of years for the Savior. We can wait a few more weeks.

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89 Responses to This is not the Christmas season

  1. Beth Hess says:

    Thank you.
    Seriously.
    Thank you got sharing these life-changing, life-redeeming truths.
    Merry (Advent) Christmas to you & yours.
    beth hess

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Theresa says:

    Bravo!

  3. Frank says:

    I believe in waiting within reason, but it seems extreme to me to reduce the celebration of Christmas to only one day just as its extreme to start spreading Christmas cheer before people have even taking down the Halloween decorations. We’re not waiting for Christ to be born anymore either, He’s already BEEN born, and risen, so truth be told, we should be celebrating his birth (or rather what the purpose of that birth was) every day.

    Personally, one of my favorite traditions is the 12 days of Christmas (or Christmastide) and coming up with distinctive festivities for each day to extend the celebration of Christmas into the new year. Christmas is just too short otherwise, and the waiting period for next year’s Christmas is far longer than any period of Advent. :-P

    • Linda says:

      The actual end of the Christmas season is the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas) on February 2nd. That’s when I put away the last of my decorations; 40 days makes it just about right!

      • Frank says:

        There’s a thought, although I really start to look out of place keeping up the decorations past mid-January. Maybe put away the tree and leave up some of the candlelight displays? That seems to fit in with the theme of Candlemas, :D

    • SO says:

      Actually, we are waiting for His promised return, so yes, we ARE waiting for his birth again. But I agree, we should be celebrating His reason for birth, death and resurrection each day. I at least celebrate it each Sunday at Mass.

    • Amy says:

      Christmas is not just one day! It is 12 days or 40 days, depending on which calendar you follow.

    • Emily says:

      That’s the thing! We have it backwards in America. We “celebrate” for weeks beforehand and the day after, take everything down! Actually, the Christmas season ends with the Feast of the Epiphany in January (at least for the Roman Church). Centuries ago, the birth of Christ, the feast of the epiphany and the baptism of our lord were all celebrated in one feast. However, the feast of Christmas was moved out to place emphasis on our Lord’s humanity in counter of a heresy that was claiming God was not truly man. So.. . . . yes, it’s not just one day. ;) We have through feast of the Baptism of Jesus. (Not sure if the person who mention the Presentation is from a different Rite. In the Roman rite, that is the last Sunday we wear white and are in the “Christmas Season”)

      As far as the article goes, Advent’s emphasis is supposed to be not on preparing from Christmas (at least in the first 3 weeks) but to prepare for our meeting Christ at the end of our lives, or the end of time (whichever comes first!). There readings at mass are very clear about this. I wish this was emphasized more as it is such a beneficial season to reflect on “how would I stand before Christ if I died tonight?” And, are we living our lives in such a manner that if he came tonight, we would run to him with joy? Or wish we had had more time to turn our lives around?

    • auggie says:

      The same people who observe Advent also observe the whole season of Christmas, not just the one day. Commercialism also encourages us to ditch Christmas early so we start buying New Year’s decorations and stuff. Blecchh.

    • Traditionally, Christmas isn’t just one day. It STARTS on Christmas Day and continues until Epilhany (Jan 6).

    • nyelediarra says:

      Do you have any suggestions for an American Protestant evangelical to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas?? :) Our church suffers from liturgical amnesia and barely celebrates Advent, let alone Christmastide. This blog post really resonated with me and we’re thinking about moving Christmas to where it belongs – between December 25 and January 6. Thanks for any resources or suggestions you can make!

      • Frank says:

        nyelediarra, this would be a nice opportunity to celebrate the liberties we have in Christ by pursuing our own traditions. :D In truth there’s no wrong answer, so you could begin by using each day to celebrate a different theme, or for example using a chapter from the Bible to highlight and remember certain important things about our Christian walk. Love could be a theme for one day, then the next day the theme is hope, after that peace, forgiveness, grace, etc until all 12 days are filled. As for food I still fine tune my traditions, but part of it involves making delicious sausage breads. Mmmmmmm…

        • nyelediarra says:

          “the liberties we have in Christ by pursuing our own traditions” – fantastic! :) My husband is a history professor and actually teaches some Christian history courses so we have no qualms borrowing from other streams of Christian thought, even if we have had no prior experience with it (yet). Thanks for the suggestions – the sausage bread sounds yummy! :)

  4. Elise says:

    Excellent. Thanks for that.

  5. Tiffany says:

    Yeah my fam has totally decided to throw down for Advent this year. And it’s great. The faith tradition is so much more than a few scattered holidays each year. There are opportunities to feel all the feels(joy, hope, penitence, love, etc.) all year round and we should!! Otherwise it’s to easy to get bogged down in all the other worldly crap we have to wade through. That’s my humble opinion, anyway.

  6. Diane says:

    Awesome, in the busy, broken world … we wait for our Jesus, and the wait is worth it
    to have a Relationship with the Living Lord…. Matthew 16. 15,16 …. Thank you for this reminder to wait well
    with Patience and Joy for the Lord is coming
    And He is Coming Back for us, as we prepare to Celebrate His Birth
    You gave me something to Think About
    Thank you for sharing
    God Bless as we journey, together … Until the Second Coming

  7. Tania says:

    Great article! By the way, Orthodox Christians have a 40-day Nativity fast before Christmas, and it’s so challenging to keep this ‘animal food-free’ fast in the midst of month-long festivities. By the time we get to finally celebrate the Christmastide, everyone else has moved on (to Valentine’s Day, I guess? That’s what the stores do, at least). Please keep some egg nog on the shelves for us!:)

    • Maria says:

      Thank you Tania for mentioning Orthodoxy. I thought about it when I read this article. We fast for 40 days then feast for the 12 days of Christmas. It can be difficult at times but the joy of Christmas is so sweet when we sing:
      Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, has shone upon the world with the light of knowledge: for thereby they who adored the stars through a star were taught to worship Thee, the Sun of Righteousness, and to know Thee the Dayspring from on high. O Lord, glory to Thee.

  8. JacobG says:

    We celebrate Advent each year. We have come to love it even more than Christmas morning. We celebrate Advent each sunday for the four weeks before Christmas and then for the last time on Cmas Eve.

  9. Jim says:

    Well said ! …well said ! Chrissie. Again, kudos to Matt for allowing his sister’s participation.
    I’m starting to look forward to her visits to your blogsite. Seems every post gets even better.
    Chrissie, …thanks for the reminder of what Advent is supposed to be about. I have, in the short past, fallen from the rolls of my Episcopal congregation. This is the perfect time, …the perfect year,
    …to renew myself to the Church calendar. As adults, we should be like our children, as they anticipate the coming of Christmas for their reasons, so should we anticipate the coming of Christ,
    as the perfected outcome of His Divine conception. Hallelujah !

  10. Kate Beaupre says:

    I completely agree that instant gratification is just not a good thing. I do however,disagree that Christmas music and lights falls into this category, but I also understand your point. I miss a lot of the commercialization because I do not watch tv. Once a week at the grocery store I slowly see the Christmas stuff appear on the shelves. It does not feel like a constant bombardment to me because I do not have a constant media influence on my life. I do not care who does watch television and who does not, personally I just don’t care for it. My children watch some tv and movies, I don’t see anything wrong with that, but there are definitely limits. Now, if I WAS inundated with commercials from television, maybe I would feel differently. I see more complaining about the commercialization than the actual commercialization. Maybe if we all disconnected from the most influencing form of media, television, our minds would feel less bombarded.

    I really love the Christmas season, we missed it last year, my daughter spent the better part of the season hospitalized. I didn’t get to see the Christmas decor in the stores, never mind the bombardment from television. I enjoy the time of year we get together more often with family and friends, the beautiful music that speaks the story of our Savior played in places that wouldn’t even allow us to speak His name, the lights that make the darkness of winter more inviting. I didn’t get that last year, and on top of that the only day it snowed we were inpatient…didn’t get to feel a single snowflake on my face.

    I say enjoy the world around you and each other, shut off the tv. To those who see Christmas as a time to give more than they can afford, to get more than they deserve, you miss the point. Wait until Christmas for the gift giving if you participate, but in the meantime get together with your family and friends for no other reason than it IS the season.

  11. Conspiracy Theory says:

    In keeping with Matt’s sarcasm: “Yeah, yeah, patience… and how long will that take?…” ;-)

  12. Frank, the season of Christmas begins Dec 25 and lasts for 40 days. There are the 12 days of Christmas then the last day ending the day before the Epiphany. The days of Epiphany are a celebration of Christ revealing Himself to the gentiles (the 3 kings). So it is longer than one day. It is a season.

  13. Nicole says:

    For those of us who are Orthodox Christians, the advent began November 15, when we began a 40 day fast in preparation and anticipation of the Nativity. :)

  14. pageta says:

    Nothing spells anticipation to me than putting up the Christmas tree in early December and watching the gifts slowly gather under the tree. Going to holiday concerts, listening to all my favorite Christmas carols (most of them hymns), celebrating the fact that Jesus gave up everything to come and be born in a manger and live as one of us – all of that builds the anticipation of the season. Christmas Day is the culmination of that anticipation. To me, it is truly a season of great joy.

    Banning all Christmas music at church and only singing the most mournful songs in the songbook for three and a half weeks leading up to Christmas just boggles my mind. When Christmas Day is over, I’m ready to take down the tree and get back to the ol’ routine. So I must confess, I totally don’t get the Advent thing. I’ve tried it, and I can say there is NO joy in the season if one strictly follows Advent and sits out on some of the most wonderful celebrations of the season (concerts, stories, favorite Christmas movies). It simply does not work in today’s world.

    • Katie says:

      Maybe she wasn’t referring to hymns with “Christmas tunes” so much as silly Santa songs, etc.?

    • auggie says:

      I think the point is that the REASON you’re so ready to take down the tree the day after Christmas is because you’re all Christmased out by then, instead of Christmas Day being the actual start of Christmas. Advent certainly can work in today’s world, with a little bit of patience. I seriously doubt that anyone is suggesting never taking in a concert or Christmas movie before Christmas actually starts. At any rate, don’t blame the Christian church and its long, long history and traditions. Blame the consumeristic culture that has co-opted it for its own selfish ends, and turned its version of reality into the sentimental stuff we have learned to cling to.

  15. rich says:

    I like this blog okay, but it really has seemed to devolve into “everything in our culture sucks” and “there’s a three-thirds chance you’re an idiot.” And I’m one of the most conservative Chrstians you’ll find. You have a gift for words and an uncanny ability to see things in interesting ways. Try, instead of whining about (seemingly) EVERYTHING, inspiring us. Show us that there is hope, not just idiots.

    • 2h1h says:

      Rich,

      I, too, am a conservative Christian and couldn’t agree more. Thank you. Love the content because it is usually spot on, but brace myself each time I read knowing it will “bring me down”, if you will. Instead, I’m thankful for this life I’ve been given and don’t deserve. I woke up this morning with two working eyes, two working legs, beautiful people in my life and a desire to try to love like Christ loves us. And now I’m inspired to unsubscribe.

      Thank you Matt, really. Your ideas are truly right on. Praying for you, Brother. Just need a little more light…. and yes, I am a realist.

      Merry Christmas.

      • Darcy says:

        Very well said. Love Matt’s content and viewpoint, but sarcasm doesn’t provide real solutions. But if this blog can get people talking, especially his age and younger, it is so worth it.

    • angrydadnyc says:

      Unfortunately, most people are just idiots.

  16. S.A. says:

    I thank you for this profoundly! This year has been one of perpetual anticipation for my family, and maybe it is because of my mindset today over the things beyond my control, this hit home in a way I doubt anything else would. Thank you for your words!

  17. Hopeannfaith says:

    Reblogged this on HOPEannFAITH and commented:
    A must read … Let us slow down and wait upon the birth of our Lord and Savior!
    “Let’s bring it back, shall we? Let’s reclaim Christmas for Christ by waiting for His birth to celebrate it. Let’s turn off the Christmas tunes for a minute, light a few candles (traditional Advent decorations), and play “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” It is haunting, profound, healing, and perfectly captures everything I love about this time of year.”

  18. Joshua Guenther says:

    Chrissie, thanks for the great article.

    Frank, the Church agrees with you–one day is not enough to celebrate Christmas. That’s why there is a whole octave (8 days) of Christmas! And the Christmas season is even longer.

  19. wingedprisms says:

    Well said. Thank you. :D
    cate b

  20. jasonjshaw says:

    At the very least, Christmas should focus more on family than it does on things. Whether or not we believe the story of Jesus as Savior to be true or not, the holiday is based on the family occasion of gathering to celebrate a birth – and that is something everyone can celebrate.

    • Sid Avery says:

      Hi Jason,

      Jesus’ birth is what we celebrate at Christmas and it is the reason for the season (as the name ‘Christmas’ indicates).  Whether we accept it not, Jesus was actually born into our world around 2000 years ago, and we are thankful for this.
      ‘Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners …’ 1 Timothy 1:15.

      • jasonjshaw says:

        Sid, I appreciate where you are coming from and I do agree about the importance of what Jesus did in educating people about being able to find freedom from their sins. I am also looking at it from the perspective that religion (at least in North America) is much more varied than it once was, and religion on a whole is on a decline. A stronger focus on spending time with family, friends, and being open to sharing moments with those who could use some family would be a wonderful thing. Wouldn’t that echo Jesus’ sentiments without the divisiveness of a Christian focus?

        Jesus was all about bringing together one big happy family into the heavens! I would love to see a greater focus on the sentiments Jesus shared as anyone can connect with them. A focus on the story of Jesus tends to alienate many of those who don’t share the Christian belief – and what of Christmas remains for them? Shopping!

      • Steve-O says:

        Jason, I think you are right on about Christmas being a time of peace in the family. However, for many families that means catering to the atheistic uncle and not talking about Jesus, who is the reason for the gathering. Jesus did come to unite people, but only after he tears them apart. He came to destroy family bonds that were not centered around the truth and to put them back together around him. Check out Matthew 10:32-39. Jesus is telling everybody that there will be fights in the home about him.

        If an atheist/agnostic rejects the meaning of Christmas, which would include rejecting those who have it at the center of their gathering, then you are right, shopping is about the only thing left for him. If he wants to be part of the family gathering of Christmas, he doesn’t need to agree in the truthfulness of the story, but he certainly must not get in the way of those who do and their celebration of it. Would you agree? Christmas is about family, but not primarily.

  21. Ashton Pilkey says:

    I wanted to leave my thoughts on your previous blog about porn. I hate it too but what bothers me most about it I are the hypocrites behind the makeup masks and the wardrobes that amateur pornstars would wear and tell every man standing within a 100 foot radius that he’s committing adultery. You can’t serve two masters either you will hate one and serve the other … You can’t dress like a prostitute and say porn is adultery.

  22. Tanka says:

    Ths resonates with me. I grewup in norway, and there Advent is still celebrated. My mother decorated with purple, the color of advent, the whole month of december, and only on Dec23. At night, we decorated the tree, took down the purple and brought out the Christmas decorations in fed, green and gold. The 23rd was always such a magi night for me. Finally, after 4 weeks of waiting, we were on the threshold of Christmas! I loved it and hope to foment that same anticipation in my kids.

  23. Great guest post. Totally on the money here. I’m so tired of Christmas being turned into a “season” and treated like a commercial extravaganza.

    • R. says:

      A few quotes from the JC Penney Christmas employee sales brochure:

      “[Mom] is Commander in Cheer, and we are her humble servants….This year, she’ll do what she always does: Take the reindeer by the antlers and totally run the show.”
      “We’ll do everything we can to help her pull of Christmas without a hitch.”
      “Let’s help Mom Rule the Yule!”

      When I first saw those, I couldn’t decide whether to scream in rage or cry. It made me want to find all the marketing people who wrote that and sit them down in front of a VeggieTales special where the kids learn the true meaning of Christmas. Heck, even Santa Claus is Coming to Town has a more positive message than “Rule the Yule”!

      It sickens me, sometimes, to see how commercialized Christmas has become.

  24. Susan Brown says:

    It’s nice to see someone writing about this. Eastern Orthodox Christians still observe 40 days of fasting before Christmas (we call it the “Nativity Fast” rather than Advent) and then we begin celebrating with a Divine Liturgy on Christmas morning. Then we celebrate and feast for 12 days – commemorating several feast days during that time, ending with Theophany (also called Epiphany). It definitely makes for a different, more meaningful, experience. It is a little difficult to keep the spirit of the fast in this culture of pre-celebration, but we just do our best!

  25. Jen S. says:

    Fantastic!! Thank you for saying this so perfectly.

  26. Tara says:

    I appreciate the many of the thoughts expressed here but I think this is a rather alienating article. In a time when Christians really need to band together and focus on their commonalities, it seems trite to imply that only Orthodox Catholics are truly celebrating the birth of our Lord and anticipating his coming.

    • Holly says:

      Tara, I agree completely! While I understand (and agree with) Chrissy’s frustration with the commercialization of the Christmas season, I don’t see why it is so bad to celebrate Christ and his birth throughout the month of December and through January just because it isn’t in line with the traditions of certain Christian sects and the Advent. I really don’t think that Christ is sitting in heaven frustrated at those of us who don’t celebrate him and his birth “just-so”. He is probably more frustrated at those who forget Him and his gift to the world and He is likely frustrated with those of us who find reason to be overly-critical of others who do not worship and follow Him in the exact way that WE want them to.

  27. cigaradmin says:

    I don’t really understand why one would bother writing this post. While the facts in it are true, it lacks any nuance and it has an incredibly self righteous air. It assumes that the reader indulges in commercialistic secular holiday rituals and it commits the logical fallacy of assuming that, because an individual participates in various secular activities that he or she cannot also have a proper view of the Christmas season. Pardon my vernacular – while I realize that the term advent may be more fitting, but it’s also basically a synonym for what we now typically call the Christmas or holiday season, which occur in tandem with what had been traditionally called advent.

    As for the last line – I think it’s an attempt to be poetic or to end on a strong note. However, it does t really say anything that pressing or interesting. Yes, Israel waited a long time for their savior, and were we in their position, we could certainly wait a few more weeks. However, seeing as the Christmas aesthetic and general activities typically instill a feeling of joyous nostalgia in the individual, and since the Christian individual, specifically, must constantly remember that these aesthetics and activities ultimately remind us of our savior’s birth, I don’t see why we would bother waiting the several more weeks to begin with the festivities. Even the purely secular tunes, such as no place like home, it’s beginning to look a lot like, etc, while they may not be true Christmas songs in the sense of what Christmas actually is, they are good, in that they remind us of God’s creation and it’s beauty in the snow and combination of traditional Christmas colors, as well as in the notions of home and joy.

    So, not meaning to sound rude or various other negative adjectives, I hope that in the future, Christians can exchange this sort of divisive and self righteous babble and to join in with culture as opposed to constantly criticizing it. Be happy that the biggest holiday of the year for much of the world is a direct result of Christ’s birth and that those who celebrate sans Christ must always be reminded of the celebration’s genesis. Trust me, neither they, nor Christians need a reminder of what this time of the year is about – it’s in the name of the holiday.

  28. Nelson says:

    Touche Post. Well done. :)

  29. Bravo! And thank you!

  30. Nicole m says:

    WHY DOES IT MATTER! I mean really. Stop with the annoying “Christmas should be at this time, no at this time” banter and if you feel that way, good for you. I don’t see the big deal with celebrating Christmas earlier with tunes and decorating. this “argument” is just silly.

    • Steve-O says:

      The whole post was about why it matters. Did you read it? If so, which part did you disagree with?

      • Dorothy says:

        I disagree with the judgmental and assuming tone of the post. The author assumes that because someone listens to Deck the Halls and wears a Santa hat starting the day after Thanksgiving that they don’t know what Christmas is all about. She assumes that celebrating Jesus’ birth before Christmas means we forget the before, which is actually opposite of what is true. Celebrating is in essence remembering. Just because some people call it the Christmas Season and some call it Advent doesn’t change the meaning. It is the same.

  31. cigaradmin says:

    I don’t really understand why one would bother writing this post. While the facts in it are true, it lacks any nuance and it has an incredibly self righteous air. It assumes that the reader indulges in commercialistic secular holiday rituals and it commits the logical fallacy of assuming that, because an individual participates in various secular activities that he or she cannot also have a proper view of the Christmas season. Pardon my vernacular – while I realize that the term advent may be more fitting, but it’s also basically a synonym for what we now typically call the Christmas or holiday season, which occur in tandem with what had been traditionally called advent.

    As for the last line – I think it’s an attempt to be poetic or to end on a strong note. However, it does t really say anything that pressing or interesting. Yes, Israel waited a long time for their savior, and were we in their position, we could certainly wait a few more weeks. However, seeing as the Christmas aesthetic and general activities typically instill a feeling of joyous nostalgia in the individual, and since the Christian individual, specifically, must constantly remember that these aesthetics and activities ultimately remind us of our savior’s birth, I don’t see why we would bother waiting the several more weeks to begin with the festivities. Even the purely secular tunes, such as no place like home, it’s beginning to look a lot like, etc, while they may not be true Christmas songs in the sense of what Christmas actually is, they are good, in that they remind us of God’s creation and it’s beauty in the snow and combination of traditional Christmas colors, as well as in the idea of home and joy

  32. cigaradmin says:

    I don’t really understand why one would bother writing this post. While the facts in it are true, it lacks any nuance and it has an incredibly self righteous air. It assumes that the reader indulges in commercialistic secular holiday rituals and it commits the logical fallacy of assuming that, because an individual participates in various secular activities that he or she cannot also have a proper view of the Christmas season. Pardon my vernacular – while I realize that the term advent may be more fitting, but it’s also basically a synonym for what we now typically call the Christmas or holiday season, which occur in tandem with what had been traditionally called advent.

    As for the last line – I think it’s an attempt to be poetic or to end on a strong note. However, it does t really say anything that pressing or interesting. Yes, Israel waited a long time for their savior, and were we in their position, we could certainly wait a few more weeks. However, seeing as the Christmas aesthetic and general activities typically instill a feeling of joyous nostalgia in the individual, and since the Christian individual, specifically, must constantly remember that these aesthetics and activities ultimately remind us of our savior’s birth, I don’t see why we would bother waiting the several more weeks to begin with the festivities. Even the purely secular tunes, such as no place like home, it’s beginning to look a lot like, etc, while they may not be true Christmas songs in the sense of what Christmas actually is, they are good, in that they remind us of God’s creation and it’s beauty in the snow and combination of traditional Christmas colors, as well as in the notions of home and joy.

    Basically, what you have to realize is that this post is doing… Is criticizing the secular world for being secular and Christians for joining in. At first, that seems like a noble thing, but if you analyze it, it’s both pointless and fruitless. Plus, it’s pharasaic in its self righteousness. Also, it’s illogical, because it assumes that, because you get involved in the commercial parts of the holiday season, you can’t understand and appreciate the true season of the season which, by the way, is in the name of the season. While I realize that we often trade Christmas for holiday… Holiday still translates to holy day and December 25 is still Christmas. Therefore, both the Christian and secular world know the genesis of their celebration, even if some Christians still feel like they need to point it out.

  33. Adam McC says:

    I don’t really understand why one would bother writing this post. While the facts in it are true, it lacks any nuance and it has an incredibly self righteous air. It assumes that the reader indulges in commercialistic secular holiday rituals and it commits the logical fallacy of assuming that, because an individual participates in various secular activities that he or she cannot also have a proper view of the Christmas season. Pardon my vernacular – while I realize that the term advent may be more fitting, it’s also basically a synonym for what we now typically call the Christmas or holiday season, which occur in tandem with what had been traditionally called advent.

    As for the last line – I think it’s an attempt to be poetic or to end on a strong note. However, it doesn’t really say anything that pressing or interesting. Yes, Israel waited a long time for their savior and, were we in their position, we could certainly wait a few more weeks. However, seeing as the Christmas aesthetic and general activities typically instill a feeling of joyous nostalgia in the individual, and since the Christian individual, specifically, must constantly remember that these aesthetics and activities ultimately remind us of our savior’s birth, I don’t see why we would bother waiting the several more weeks to begin with the festivities. Even the purely secular tunes, such as no place like home, it’s beginning to look a lot like, etc, while they may not be true Christmas songs in the sense of what Christmas actually is, they are good, in that they remind us of God’s creation and it’s beauty in the snow and combination of traditional Christmas colors, as well as in the notions of home and joy.

    Basically, what you have to realize is that what this post does… Is criticize the secular world for being secular and Christians for joining in. At first, that seems like a noble thing, but if you analyze it, it’s both pointless and fruitless. Plus, it’s pharasaic in its self righteousness. Also, it’s illogical, because it assumes that, because you get involved in the commercial parts of the holiday season, you can’t understand and appreciate the true purpose of the season which, by the way, is in its name . While I realize that we often trade Christmas for holiday… Holiday still translates to holy day and December 25 is still Christmas. Therefore, both the Christian and secular world know the genesis of their celebration, even if some Christians still feel like they need to point it out.

    • Dorothy says:

      Thank you. You said what I feel far more eloquently than I could have. Not only is it pointless and fruitless to criticize those who practice the secular version of Christmas, it’s not very Christian to judge so readily and absolutely. One would think Christmas time would inspire the Christian message the most, but it seems to have incited the exact opposite in this case.

      • R. says:

        Yes, we should all stop judging people. Except for the people who are judging others. It’s okay to judge them. Go ahead, you two. Keep up the good work and go on judging the judgmental people.

      • Dorothy says:

        Not judging, R. Discussing concerns. There’s a stark difference between the absolute views of the poster (and this blog, in general) and voicing an opinion of confusion and disillusionment.

      • R. says:

        That explanation would work, save for the fact that you make some pretty heavy assumptions about the woman who wrote this blog. You seem to assume that because she criticizes the commercialization of Christmas, she has a beef with everyone who celebrates the secular version. And your assumption seems to be that, since she is rather opinionated in this post, she is being judgmental. That sounds pretty judgmental to me.

      • Dorothy says:

        I suppose, if you use a loose definition of assumption. I based an opinion on her own words.

    • Nicole m says:

      Agreed. thank you!

  34. Quite a wonderful set of words…

  35. Tito Tinagra says:

    Wait…are you saying that microwave ovens lead to premarital sex? Fuuuuuuuuuccckkkkkkk

  36. Dorothy says:

    I’m not exactly sure what the point of this post was. Am I missing something? I, like every other Christian, have always been cognizant and embracing of Advent. That doesn’t mean we must set aside Christmas for the time being. There’s no line dividing the two. They are intertwined. I can’t be the only Christian who celebrates AND remembers. That’s the point of celebration, isn’t it? We are reflecting on the events that lead to Jesus’ birth and life.

  37. sariaru says:

    There have been a lot of folks who seem to disagree with the author. Whatever you think of her tone, it is necessary to remember that Advent and Christmas are in fact different, in much the same way that Lent and Easter are different. As the Nativity is a typological prefigurement of Christ’s second coming in glory, Advent is a perfect time to wait for that as we follow the great waiting of Israel in the Old Testament. We, like Israel, need to examine and ask, “Are we ready?” That is primarily the tone of the Advent season, particularly noted in the readings for the Roman Rite. As the Nativity draws nearer, we look from the Second Coming to the First Coming, as we celebrate with Israel the birth of God With Us.

    We see during that waiting period a sense of longing and yearning. A lot of the secular “Christmas season” traditions and the like eliminate this longing, with a sense of immediate gratification, be it in gift-buying, food, football, whatever. In reality, this is a time of preparing ourselves and our homes to receive the Christ Child in. Christmastide (25 Dec – 6 Jan) is a time of wonder and awe and great celebration – but not yet.

    In the meantime:
    veni veni Immanuel
    captivum solve Israel.

    God bless you all this Advent season. xx

  38. Andy Cook says:

    I personally don’t have anything against what the author wrote. Yes, I agree that she was not saying anything profound or new, and the last line was especially a gem. It adds that subtle “we are the new Israel” flavor that so many Christians wrongly exude.

    I bet most of you people who celebrate the christmas holiday would be utterly shocked and appalled to find out the true origins of the event. Most of you may know the true roots but choose instead to “use it for Jesus” as if our intentions have ever mattered when it comes to brazenly blaspheming and recycling used pagan rituals for our Messiah.

    Consider it this way:
    Celebrating christmas for our Savior and Messiah is like a man on his wedding night who has had sexual relations with another woman before marriage. The man agreed to marry the girl on condition that she forsake entirely her old promiscuous lifestyle and get rid of all the old connections and leftover symbols and relationships she had with her former lovers. She agrees to do so, but thinking that she is showing love or dedication somehow, she instead takes the hand-made, anatomically-accurate nude sculpture she modeled after her former lover, and sets it at the foot of the marriage bed immediately after being carried by her groom over the threshold. Appalled, the new husband asks his bride what on earth “that thing” is doing here? “I thought you got rid of that!” He cries.

    “But sweety,” she says carefully, “I know this looks like someone else, but I’ve decided I’m going to put your name at the bottom instead and I’ll only think about you when I look at it.”
    However genuine her intentions, no sane man would agree to keep the figure around, especially since it was modeled after his brides former lover, whom she once had deep affections for.

    When you celebrate christmas, you are placing a detailed model of your former lovers genitals at the foot of the marriage bed with your bride-groom who bought you with a price. There are enough resources out there on the internet I won’t plague you with links, if you’re truly interested in worshipping our creator and King in the way He requires us to, you wouldn’t celebrate christmas. But I know instead most of you will either be outraged or offended by this post, probably call me names or tell me I need salvation. But that’s okay. Until you put your desires aside and seek to please God and not your self, you won’t see my point. If you do, I encourage you to look into the true meaning behind christmas and see how no bride can ever think she can get away with giving her groom a gift like the “worship” we call christmas. It is worship alright, but it was not intended for the God we claim to serve.

    In Him,
    AC

    • Dorothy says:

      I’m not particularly offended, no, but I am finding it difficult not to smile. I always get a crack out of people who claim they know exactly what it is God wants and how we should worship him. Christmas is about giving, not receiving. So wouldn’t it follow that we’re not seeking to please ourselves, but God? “That which you do unto the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.” By giving, we are giving to Christ. It’s not a very difficult concept to grasp.

      • Andy Cook says:

        I don’t claim to know exactly how God wants to be worshipped, but I’m learning. Believe it or not it’s spelled out in the Bible, you know, the part that “isn’t for today.”
        Even if I’m wrong, if nothing else, we can know how NOT to worship Him. That is undoubtedly spelled out in the Bible. But so many people have the impression that that part was somehow done away with or replaced and they either they miss it or refuse to accept it. Why would a loving God leave us floundering around trying to figure out how to worship Him and then tell us it’s an abomination to get it wrong? I always get a crack out of people who claim that we can’t know how to worship God but then turn around and claim that we can know exactly what He meant in every other part of scripture to a point where we can even pick and choose to believe certain parts and not others, or take part in the very things he told us not to “as long as out hearts are in the right place.” I don’t recall a single scripture in the whole Book that says or even implies that “it’s the thought that counts.”

        Is God really pleased by our overspending and giving gifts to people who don’t really need them? Is God pleased by our consumerism? Don’t get me wrong, I know that a lot of people use christmas for ministering to people who have actual needs, I don’t deny that one bit. But that population of people is hardly a blip on the radar compared to the ones who view christmas as a time for gifts. (And I don’t mean out of everybody, I mean compared to the rest of the church, the ones who claim that “Jesus is the reason for the season.)

        Giving a homeless man a way to enable his being homeless is not actually helping him. Not really at least. It may meet his immediate need when you give him money for a sandwich somewhere, but it doesn’t help him improve his situation. Sure, we should be ready and willing to reach out our hands to give to the needy, but I don’t think that that can be compared to celebrating christmas. People simply don’t celebrate christmas to “help people.” Sure they put it under the banner of telling people about Jesus, but how much more effective would our witness be if we did it Gods way instead, and celebrated HIS appointed times rather than recycled pagan holidays?

        Read my anecdote again. How would you feel if you were the recipient of that gift? Would you actually be grateful for the intentions behind it so that you could ignore the glaring truth that it was created for someone else ? Or would you be offended and outraged that you were receiving something that was not only second-hand, but designed for crafted after someone else entirely?

      • Dorothy says:

        On the one hand, I agree that consumerism has infected Christmas. I don’t personally subscribe to buying expensive gifts, so it’s not immediately obvious to me that that’s what people are condemning, and not the whole of gift giving altogether. Whether a gift is $100 dollars or remade out of old scarves, the thought is what counts. If there’s not thought beyond how awesome you are for buying so-and-so an expensive gift, you’re doing it wrong.

        I don’t agree with your point about the homeless man at all. Only 20 – 30% of homeless are there because they’d rather have booze or drugs than a roof over their head. The rest are people who were laid off and couldn’t catch a break, kids who were kicked out, aged out, or ran away, families who lost everything and didn’t have anywhere to turn to. I would rather give up the two dollars I was planning on buying lip gloss with on the chance that he’ll buy food and not alcohol, than let him starve for the sake of my vanity. And who knows, maybe by me giving the druggie money, he won’t go out and rob a convenience store, killing someone in the process. There but for the grace of God go I, and yeah, maybe I’m being stupid in handing over my hard earned money, but sometimes people just need a little help.

        I’d also like to apologize because I realized I was in a bad mood when I posted to you last. I don’t presume to tell you how to worship. I’m sure the way you worship is appreciated just the same as the way I worship. That was what I meant to say, was that there is no one way to show God our love and devotion. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” There are definitely things we should and should not do as Christians, but for the most part, the message is as simple as love one another and love Him.

  39. So well put! Thank you!

  40. mercyknight says:

    I have a confession … I LOVE this time of year!!! Don’t get my wrong … I avoid the “materialism madness” in the stores like the plague. But, I love having a whole month of building up to the BIG DAY! I am very sentimental and, while I know many cannot relate to being raised in a happy and strongly Catholic home, I was given that privilege. Going out with dad to get the tree and having it up for like SIX WEEKS (before and after Christmas) was a BONUS, baby! ;-) Christmas music that some might consider sappy, stirs my heart to let go of my fears and extend the Joy of Christmas to everyone I meet. When I played football, we had all kinds of Pep-Rallies to get us “in the spirit.” Our American traditions are FUN (less the materialism thing), and I embrace them. So, I am going to continue listening to Perry Como, Bing Crosby and all those sappy songsters as my heart pounds more and more everyday in anticipation of the BIG DAY! ;-)

    • Dorothy says:

      Same here! I come from a large Catholic family and this season is all about togetherness and remembering what being Christian is all about. Jesus is the reason for the season, haha. It’s about giving and loving, things Jesus is very fond of.

  41. Pingback: Do Penance or Perish | True Restoration

  42. Great post. This sums up why I love Advent so much. “It is filled with the joy of the “soon to come,” but permeated with the sadness of the “not yet.”

  43. Pingback: The Pseudo-Spirit of Christmas

  44. Jim says:

    The observance of Advent is as man-made as the celebration of Christmas. Neither are mentioned in Scripture (which, as a child of the Reformation, is Supreme above tradition to me) and yet both can be redeemed for good. I have experienced joy in the celebration of a Christmas “season” since I was a toddler because that is how I was raised. The already/not yet is a paradox that is with us for most of the year. I respect anyone who celebrates Advent, but there is prudence in recognizing that many followers of Christ were not raised in traditions that observe it and yet take great joy in the celebration of a different tradition while also eschewing commercialism. Amen.

  45. Bob Albritton says:

    Thanks. This is what I was trying to say. The congregation enjoyed the orange and knife props I used for my sermon. Also had a WUMC coffee cup to show.

    Trying to entice without using a hammer.

    Bob

    _____

  46. Pingback: Easy Peasy $10 Advent Calendar | Our Cone Zone

  47. AthenaC says:

    I was with you up until the gratuitous “I’m better than everyone because of what’s between my legs” bit.

    • AthenaC says:

      Let me clarify – there’s a time and a place for discussions about such things, but throwing it in EVERYWHERE is just as disgusting as gratuitous sex in movies (i.e. sex that doesn’t serve the plot in any way). I take it back – it’s MORE disgusting because it always has that baseless “I’m better than everyone” undertone.

      • Marylamb says:

        Only if you believe you’ve done something to feel guilty for and haven’t repented. I don’t feel like she said that to me at all and I did have sex before marriage. I also regret it. I was blessed, though, to have married him. 42 years later I’m even MORE blessed that we have hung in there because so many who don’t wait and so many who get married as young as we did don’t make it through the hard times.
        And no, I don’t think her STATEMENT OF FACT is the same as watching people get it on in movie that inspires OTHERS, especially young adults, to do the same. If we don’t speak out and tell kids no EVERYONE is NOT doing it they will believe everyone IS.
        Some of the overreactions to this seem to say there are some unresolved guilty emotions that are begging to be acknowledged so you will KNOW you’re(you being not YOU but the posters in general, not pointing fingers here, want to be clear because seems some are pretty sensitive) FORGIVEN. Everyone knows intellectually that God is merciful and forgives but we must ALSO accept it deep in our hearts.
        God Bless you

  48. Frank says:

    I thought this blog post is related and worth considering! Should Christians abandon Christmas?http://dumbidols.blogspot.com/2012/12/should-christians-abandon-christmas.html

    • Frank says:

      To elaborate, it is questioning “reclaiming the season” based on the fact that the actual date of December 25th is a contrivance. It states that we should abandon Dec. 25 and reestablish the REAL Christmas on Christs REAL birthday, so we dont have to compete with the secular hoohaa.

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