A few days after Halloween this year, I went into a department store to pick something up and was met with a barrage of snow, stockings, and Santa Clauses.Check out the 10 suggestions made HERE.
In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy: boy, that escalated quickly.
Yes, a certain holiday about gratitude and peace is bulldozed like a helpless little paper mache turkey in the mad dash to start a-wassailing – that, we’ve come to expect. And yes, Christmas seems increasingly flattened and commercialized, made to dance for us like a shiny little servant devoid of spiritual substance – that, we’ve come to expect too.
But this means that Advent, the sacred time of expectation and preparation that gives the joy of Christmas its depth, is losing ground too – and fast.
G.K. Chesterton once said: “It is the very essence of a festival that it breaks upon one brilliantly and abruptly, that at one moment the great day is not and the next moment the great day is.” But like an officious Ned Flanders all hopped up on peppermint mocha, Christmas is here well before the party starts, plowing over the solemnity of early winter with its grating carols, gaudy sweaters, and merry jolly happiness – and it’s not going anywhere.
Two months of compulsory cheer, of course, tends to diminish the excitement of Christmas day when it finally rolls around. In fact, our collective lack of Advent may be pushing us to end Christmas early. After hearing “Jingle Bells” on the radio ad nauseam, elbowing through holly-decked malls from Black Friday to Christmas Eve, and arriving at the anticlimactic day with empty pockets and bad tidings, people naturally want very little to do with Christmas after the 25th. Traditionally though, the celebration lasts 12 days, from Christmas day to the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th.
How can we make Advent sacred again?
The word “sacred” actually has very practical roots: it means making something holy by setting it apart from everyday things. To make the time before Christmas (and consequently, Christmas) sacred, we need to fight for its space, to set it apart from the world before the world gobbles it up. And what better way to set something apart than to give it its own soundtrack?
13 Dec 2015
10 Advent Songs to Cure the Christmas Craziness
Over at Aleteia, Matthew Becklo pulls together a varied top 10 of Advent songs to helps us remember that Christmas doesn't actually start until sunset on 24th December!