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Saturday, September 22, 2012

BEGIN TO LOOK A LOT AT CHRISTMAS

Each year, I post messages on two Christmas matters.  

They vary in title, but cover the same two topics annually.

In Advent, you will see the message about the academic explanation for the date of Christmas having no connection to prior pagan holidays.  Stay tuned.

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This is a message about separating the Christian feast of the Nativity of the Lord from a pagan commercialized season.   I think it is more accurate to call that lengthy season "Yuletide" and leave all the elves and wrapping paper and partying to that viewpoint which has become so culturally dominant.

We need to prepare for this annual problem now, at the beginning of the end of the liturgical year, now that regular parish operations have resumed following summer vacations, while parish calendars are being prepared.

Basically, I propose not to fight the battle of anticipated Christmas but to keep the civil Yuletide in its place and make clear that the House of God is no place for Santa Claus.  

[1]  Yuletide anciently focused on the Winter Solstice on the night of December 21/22, the longest night of the year.  The neo-pagans and Wiccans are renewing those practices. Can we let Santa Claus and parties in his spirit end there, too?  Could we schedule all parish celebrations of the civil season on or before 21 December?  

[2]  Could we keep those non-liturgical colors of red and green for those events and out of our prayer spaces?  Can we find new ways to decorate our church that might be less expensive and more Christian than the firs and berries colors Christians took over from the pagans?  Would it not be much more clear that we are celebrating a Christian feast if we did not see in church the same categories of decorations we see in shopping malls?

These are not suggestions that we stop participating in the second biggest social event of the year after the Super Bowl, but suggestions that we separate the ever more commercialized civil holidays from what we believe and celebrate about the birth of Jesus.

 Tom in U City
http://practical-liturgist.blogspot.com

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You might consider publishing the above message, between the lines of asterisks, in your bulletin or newsletter and see what kind of discussion it produces. 


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