Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reclaiming Christmas!

We all know that Christmas is coming, after all, it is all over every box store out there from Wal-Mart to JC Penney’s. It seems that Thanksgiving is been completely obliterated by the push to get Christmas to us sooner but we all know they don’t want us to come and adore but come and spend. This year, I am going to join their ranks and push Advent and Christmas a bit early but an Advent and Christmas focused on Christ and His arrival to us as a baby. Consider utilizing this time of early advertising before Advent to get your Advent pulled together.
I remember thinking that God was quite wise when He gave us, as parents, a full nine months (give or take) to prepare for the arrival of our children. For some, this time was longer or shorter if an adoption was involved but, for the most part, we all have a good deal of time allotted to us to make sure that we have all we need for the newest arrival. It is a blessing for both us and the baby that they don't usually arrive in a day or even a week! If we apply this same analogy to Christmas we realize that we have known about its arrival for...well, really for our entire lives. We know it is coming, it comes every year after all, so why do we always seem to be so caught off guard?
For the first time, I suggest that perhaps Wal-Mart or whomever, might be onto something. I am suggesting that you don’t put off considering Christmas, perhaps even making any necessary purchases now before it gets ‘too late’. And too late is when what you need for Christmas Day overwhelms what you need to do before Christmas Day. In other word, are your worries for Christmas overwhelming your Advent?
By giving Christmas - the more secular aspects of it at least - some consideration before Advent arrives might allow you to give Advent the true time, consideration and devotion it deserves. In relating this back to the arrival of the baby, every pregnancy requires time to gather the necessary physical supplies and clothes that every baby requires regardless of family. But we also need to prayerfully consider what our baby requires as they join our family. Perhaps this can take place in our families in regard to Advent and Christmas.
You know you will get a tree and some presents, plan a meal and make travel plans; after all, every family will be doing that. Instead consider what will your family - with its own personal mission and vocation from God - do this Advent? This same attitude applies to your groups - what will they do to make the meetings that coincide with Advent more focused on Christ's arrival and their preparation? Planning a service project for the needy could be done now and not left to the night before. Perhaps helping the kids to bring Advent to their own families with the creation of a simple Advent paper ring with a simple activity each day. With this in mind, you may only need to unpack familiar favorites and replace the pink and purple candles but perhaps you want some ‘new ideas’ for Advent.
A quick search on the internet reveal some good places to start such as: where you can sign up for a free Advent Adventure or be inspired by ideas at or And you can always ask at your parish. It just might be that your own parish has a library of ideas or a staff person eager to share. Keeping in mind that Christmas is a time for giving, realize that your enthusiasm and need for a great Advent might give your pastor or DRE a much needed boost of enthusiasm for their vocation.
While I don’t want to hear any Christmas music - secular or otherwise - until Advent starts, and I am not suggesting we start decorating as the stores do, giving Advent and Christmas some thought and preparation before Advent arrives will surely make it easier to dedicate the season to Jesus who is, after all, the only reason to do it!