>Have Yourself a very Civic Christmas

Posted: 15/12/2009 in American Civic Religion, Christian living, holy days, life


Isn’t there anyone who can tell me what Christmas is all about?! -Charlie Brown

Yesterday was the the third Sunday of Advent and I am yet to comment on Christmas.

I am such a bad Christian.

I had hoped to do a series of worked out, fully fledged, articles for this Advent season, but my school schedule, my quest for summer employment and to some extent even Christmas shopping got the better of me.

In other words, I was sucked into the civic side of Christmas.

It seems, when Christmas comes around, Christians really wind up celebrating two different holidays at the same time. One, is the secular holiday; henceforth “x-mas.” X-mas is marked by the traveling stress of coming home from school during winter break, (or waiting for your kids to come home if you are the parent). It is about the big day of shopping of black Friday. It is about getting presents under the tree. Hanging stockings above the mantle. Getting gifts and receiving them, and shopping while hearing “Jingle bells” or “I’ll be Home for Christmas” or something else vaguely “Good will” orientated. X-mas, is the secular, cultural, holiday that all people of any religious or non-religious persuasion can enjoy.

Do I think any of these things are bad? Not at all (except the shopping). I enjoy giving and receiving gifts. X-mas remains the one time of year when I really look forward to going home. Decorations are still fun. As long as there is not a great deal of stress, I will have a good X-mas this year.

The thing is though, I really want to celebrate Advent and Christmas during December. I want to prepare myself as if Christ was coming on December 24th. I want some time to take emotional, spiritual, and even mental inventory and redirect everything towards God. I want to show Christian charity through acts of Christian charity. I want to sing Christmas songs that reflect the importance of Christ’s birth. I want to be amazed by the incarnation.

I found this Advent, and many others like it to be an unstable balance of X-mas and Christmas. It seems every year, that the aspects of X-mas, because I am so stuck in the culture, eclipse Christmas. Never fully so, obviously, but a little to much in my mind.

This year, though, I did get all my shopping done by November. Next year, I will pay special attention Advent and will hopefully be able to decorate my apartment accordingly.

Thanks for reading.

  1. Dan says:

    >I commend you for getting the shopping out of the way so you can focus on better things. I'm a little tired of my own attitudes toward Christmas, or X-Mass if you will. I'm a great fail as of right now. Need to refocus. Thanks for the post.

  2. Eric Gregory says:

    >Thought you might want to take a look at another Blogger (Theological Scribbles) and his take on the same idea: http://theologicalscribbles.blogspot.com/2009/12/advent-thought-7-take-christ-out-of.html

  3. Stephanie says:

    >It's true. I've definitely noticed this phenomenon. It came to a head yesterday when my husband and I were in the car, listening to the radio. It was a Spanish station, "los exitos de las ochentas, noventas y actual," which means "the hits of the 80's, 90's, and today". After annoucing this and givign some news about upcoming concerts, the DJ announced that the station was going to have a Christmas Mass in the morning. "That would never happen on an American station," I told Manny. "Why?" he asked. "Because it would make Christmas a religous holiday." He kind of gave me a puzzled look. "Isn't is a religous holiday?" Apparently it stil is on Spanish-speaking stations!

  4. Jin-roh says:

    >Difference in culture and such. I think it is Catholic culture thing. I remember a boat ride between islands in the Phillipines the stewardess had asked everyone to pray. That just doesn't happen in the United States.

  5. Stephanie says:

    >For all our talk of "religous freedom," I kind of miss that.

  6. Jin-roh says:

    >You know, after taking that class on Political Philosophy, and reading what you just said, you've given me a whole different blog to write.In our society, what can be said in "public" is that which neither appeals to a specific religion nor to some "comprehensive" philsophical outlook.It turns out, we can't say very much at all.

  7. Jin-roh says:

    >Also, sadly, Christianity in America doesn't understand holy days much better than secular culture.I will be up at Loyola Marymount's Chapel for Holy week this year. No doubt.

  8. Dan says:

    >With all do respect, we can say anything in public we want. I think you are referring to the misconception of not being able to say it in a position of power and prestige. Any radio station can say whatever it wants. Any student at school can say whatever they want within the boundaries of common sense. I can say whatever I want on my ship with the same use of common sense. I bet you can too.What we can't do is talk publicly about faith and have everyone agree with us now days like they used to. That's not a bad thing. It takes away the power from Christians, but we shouldn't be wanting that anyway.

  9. Anonymous says:

    >X-mas is just shorthand for Christmas. Look up the Greek root of Khristós. You could always just say Yule.

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