Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

November 7, 2011

Have You Heard of November?

Dear merchandisers of America,


As odd as it may seem on first glance, I’m writing with a concern about your office supplies. You calendars, in particular. I think they’re missing something.


You see, there’s this month between October (when Christmas decorations go up) and December (when Christmas is celebrated). It’s called November. It’s pretty important, at least to me. There’s Thanksgiving, my mom’s birthday, and—get this—the start of Advent, the season my family uses to prepare for Christmas.


Now, I’m not asking you to build your entire marketing plan around the Catholic liturgical calendar or to outfit your offices with calendars of the saints. But I’m curious as to why you start marketing Christmas goods in October. Do you think we’ll forget Christmas is coming?


Or is it that you love Christmas so much, the four weeks of Advent simply aren’t enough? Are you that excited to celebrate the birth of Christ? If only! Or do you find red and green really flattering for your complexions? Do you kind of wish you could wear Christmas sweaters all year round? Is that what this is about? I really hope not.


I admit I’ve considered starting my Christmas shopping a little earlier this year, but it’s not because I want the season to last longer. Rather, it’s because I want to enjoy what the season’s really about. Turns out, it’s not about sleighs and reindeer and cookies. Okay, maybe it’s about cookies, if my grandma’s the one baking them.


It’s really about being with your family and your friends, and being grateful for what already exists in your life, not about what you’re going to get next. Gift-giving is certainly a manifestation of love, and it’s an important one (see The Five Love Languages). But at the end of the day, it’s a symbol, a symbol of something that runs deeper. A symbol of the tremendous love of a God who cares for each and every person on the planet as if s/he were the only one.  Yes, this love is as strong in October as it is in December, but I really don’t think we need to deck the halls that early to remind us of it.


So this letter, which I doubt you’ll receive, is a plea to respect the month of November, and the intelligence—and calendars—of your customers. We know Christmas is coming. We’re excited about it. We’ll buy stuff to help us celebrate, really. In fact, we might even buy more stuff if we weren’t sick of it all by the time the holiday rolled around.


If you take nothing else from my rant, consider this: a Jack-o-Lantern should never have to meet a reindeer face-to-face. It’s just not right.


With best wishes for happy holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving, too), and with hopes that you’ll change your ways next year,


December 15, 2010

The Light of the Season

Advent is probably my favorite liturgical season: it is filled with great anticipation and yet with tremendous joy.  Not only is a baby to be born, but the child is to be the Savior of the world!


Experiencing pregnancy this year has given me a special opportunity to consider Mary’s life in the months leading up to Jesus’ birth.  When I felt ill, I thought about whether Mary had morning sickness, and how she handled it.  When I felt the baby kick, I thought how much more amazing it must have been for Mary to feel the Son of God in her womb.  Although my child is not God himself, he is a gift in much the same way Jesus was to Mary.  How blessed we both are in our motherhood, to have the primary responsibility to care for one of God’s children and the beautiful experience of living God’s love as a parent.


Especially because I have a baby boy, now I find myself often looking at Jacob and how I interact with him and wondering what the same sort of situation looked like between Jesus and Mary.  I wonder, did Jesus fall asleep easily at night, or were the first couple of months difficult for him and his earthly parents?  How old was Jesus when he started to smile?  What did Mary and Joseph do to make him laugh? Was Jesus a small baby, or did he have cheeks that seems to double in size each day, like our Peanut?


Watching my little one squeaking and talking to a toy on the floor in front of me right now, I am grateful for this glimpse into a time of Jesus’ life that is rarely discussed.  It has helped me to be more patient with myself and with Jacob.  God really does understand every part of our humanity—He lived it!  It is incredible to recognize the face of Jesus in this little guy every day.


Babies really do help you to slow down and enjoy the simpler things in life—if you let them.  This weekend, we got our Christmas tree, and after John put the lights on it, we showed it to Jacob.


I admit that most of Jacob’s waking time is devoted to gazing at whatever kind of light in within his range of vision, but I found a deeper meaning in his fascination with the lights on the tree.  In this very busy season, he was delighted by a simple string of lights—and isn’t that what Advent and Christmastime are all about?  Finding joy in the simple reality of the Light in our world, which dispels darkness and offers peace.


“In Your light we see light.” (Ps 36:9)


What a joy to celebrate Advent with a little boy, and how grateful I am for a renewal of faith in my motherhood!  Amen.

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