Monday, January 01, 2007

The Season of Christmas

It's over. The War on Christmas has been won, and all we really had to do was wait it out. With the victory in hand, we're safe to discard our prized Christmas trees and wrapping paper. It's hard to see what the hubbub was about now that I've finished the eggnog and most of the ham. It seems now the War on Christmas could never have been lost. But how many people are still celebrating Christmas? In the Christian calendar, it's importance is second only to Easter. It's been said that it's "too big for just one day", so it seems right to continue to enjoy the celebration even into the new year. Traditionally, we're still in the Christmas season until the Epiphany on January 6th, so those enjoying Christmas should feel no need to undeck the halls just yet. Relax a little. Enjoy the spoils. The tree can come down next weekend. You don't have to be really big on church liturgy like an Anglican, Roman Catholic, or Orthodox Christian to enjoy the whole Christmas season, either. My Southern Baptist preacher neighbor seems to keep his decorations up, too.

I want to make a point to slow down. I like to relax and take some slient time to reflect during this time, and I do, but not enough. Leaving the decorations up lets me enjoy this time that's not the hectic preparation or celebration of Christmas.

A priest was telling me that he kind of liked the old penitential observation of the four weeks of Advent before christmas. It's not that he just likes the purple of Lent over the new Advent blue (even though he has a cherished purple stole he could wear), but that he liked the introspection and penitential focus more than what we do now. I couldn't help thinking that maybe twenty years ago, the Christmas marketing barrage was less intense than now, but that's just as likely false. I enjoyed the marketing aspect a lot then.


Rich said...

Man, after Christmas I cannot wait to take down the tree and decorations. For me it's better than putting them up. It's like saying good to the barrage that is modern Christmas.

But I tend to be one of those who dreads the post Halloween ramp up to Christmas.

But then I don't really see it as a celebration of Christ nowadays. It's a celebration of capitalism. It's placement in December was meant to compete with the Pagan's celebration of the solstice after all. Most scholars believe Christ was born closer to September than December.

I just hope they leave Easter alone.

John Paul said...

I don't know whether the Christmas/bacchanal/solstice and Easter/pagan new year correspondences influence which one is more commericial, but it seems like the Christmas season is an easy way for retailers and manufacturers for focus on one huge selling season each year, which may be all they want to handle.