The events that come to mind when we say “Christmas,” “Easter,” “Pentecost,” are so tremendous that their commemoration cannot be celebrated in a single day each…
Tomorrow being the First Sunday of Advent, this seemed appropriate!
“The events that come to mind when we say “Christmas,” “Easter,” “Pentecost,” are so tremendous that their commemoration cannot be celebrated in a single day each. Weeks are needed.
First, weeks of preparation, of becoming attuned in body and soul, and then weeks of celebration. This goes back to an age when people still had time–time to live, time to enjoy.
In our own day, we face the puzzling fact that the more time-saving gadgets we invent, the more new buttons to push in order to “save hours of work” – the less time we actually have…
This atmosphere of “hurry up, let’s go” does not provide the necessary leisure in which to anticipate and celebrate a feast.
But as soon as people stop celebrating they really do not live any more – they are being lived, as it were.”
Worthwhile and challenging words from the matriarch of the real-life Von Trapp Family Singers!
That said, one must also strive to avoid excessive rigorism and rigidity. As one commenter pointed out,
“It’s really difficult to take care of Christmas shopping before Advent. Also, my H thinks it is unnecessarily gloomy to wait to decorate until Christmas Eve, and be associated with non-believers with their dark houses.”
The response was also worthwhile, I think:
“I do understand that. I think each family has to figure out what is best for them while trying to incorporate as many Advent customs as possible. We will listen to Christmas music through Advent but only the classical ones with no words, until closer to Christmas. That’s something we’ve figured out through the years. Only in the past 5 years have I been able to get my gifts before Advent. I think we have to be careful of rigidity….. though pulling back and making it a more spiritual time is always a good thing, if done with charity.”
I, too, endeavor to listen primarily to instrumental classic Christmas music, and Gregorian chant, along with what Advent music I can find, during that period of preparation and watchful anticipation. But it can be challenging to try to keep Advent — and then to keep Christmas! — in today’s secular and “multi-cultural” world. But then, when has being Christian not been challenging…?