Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Advent Police

Turn off those lights! Hide that tree! And for heaven's sake, don't use the 'C' word before the 24th of December. You will celebrate Advent, whether you enjoy it or not. The Advent Police have spoken!

Like many annoying things, there is a center of truth in this. Advent is a separate liturgical season that prepares us for the celebration of Christmas. It should be celebrated with its own hymns and liturgical color (NO, not blue. Don't even get me started on that nonsense. I have personally supervised the demise of two sets of blue advent vestments.) Yes, it is annoying that the secular cultural believes Christmas starts before Halloween and ends on the 26th of December. (That is if Christmas isn't neutered into 'White Holidays'. Hanukkah is no problem, but Kwanzaa is made up BS and I will recognize a Muslim winter holyday when there is a creche in Mecca.) But these defects are not solved by becoming Advent Grinches.

My first year at the Sem, the 'liturgical coordinator' aka THE ICE QUEEN (a plain clothes nun who had taken a fourth vow to fashion) persuaded the Rector to ban Christmas parties, Christmas lights, and Christmas decorations. Instead we were given Jesse Trees which remained undecorated. All of this during the days leading up to finals and during an especially dreary Oregon winter. I have never seen so many depressed people in one place. I even know of a priest who in the name of Advent berated parishioners who had lights on their house. (All he succeeded in doing was ensuring that there would be more lights the following year.)

So, what is my solution? Celebrate Advent liturgically keeping in mind that it is supposed to call to mind and prepare for Christmas. Remind people that Christmas doesn't end until Epiphany. I tell my parishioners that I have no problem with lights and decorations during Advent as long as Baby Jesus isn't in the creche and they stay up until Epiphany.
blog comments powered by Disqus