Monday, November 30, 2009

A Blessed Season of Advent

How are you going to be keeping Advent?
Joseph Bottum says at First Things blog that "Advent is gobbled up by Christmas".
He goes on to say, "More than any other holiday, Christmas seems to need its setting in the church year, for without it we have a diminishment of language, a diminishment of culture, and a diminishment of imagination. The Jesse trees and the Advent calendars, St. Martin's Fast and St. Nicholas' Feast, Gaudete Sunday, the childless crèches, the candle wreaths, the vigil of Christmas Eve: They give a shape to the anticipation of the season. They discipline the ideas and emotions that otherwise would shake themselves to pieces, like a flywheel wobbling wilder and wilder till it finally snaps off its axle."

Even though I assembled my Advent Wreath and sang "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" at Mass, I realized that he was right.  Christmas has encroached upon Advent, and I have been complicit in it, as I sang "O Holy Night" along with the radio last night on the way home from my father's for Thanksgiving. I just find my favorite Christmas carols more tempting than cookies or presents. I miss them, and welcome each carol back as an old friend. That is why I like singing for Midnight Mass; you get to practice those wonderful carols in November. We'll be sining "Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming" in my church this year. I can't wait.
However, we should be also be singing lovely Advent hymns like this one. And holding back on the decorations, letting the girls put them up little by little AFTER the Advent housecleaning.

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