Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Christmas Bustle and Holiday Stress

Julie D. has a nice post up about the "proper" way to observe Advent. Here's the money paragraph, to my mind:
Come to think of it, Mary and Joseph must have had a hard time reflecting and waiting for Christ to come also. I bet they would have enjoyed some peace and quiet preparing for the baby. Instead they had to pack up, travel under less than ideal conditions amidst the hustle and bustle of a huge crowd, found nowhere to stay (and likely nothing much really good to eat) ... and then had a newborn baby to care for ... while Joseph had no work coming in to support the family. (Sounds strikingly like a modern-day Christmas nightmare doesn't it?) I bet in spite of all their holiness they were worrying plenty about the realities of daily life ... and probably because of all their holiness they still were full of joy and able to contemplate the true miracle in which they were privileged to take part (at least that's how my mind's eye vision works on the scenario).

Now, I deplore the commercialism of Christmas as much as the next St. Blog's Parishioner, but as those who are called to live in the world but not of it, doesn't it do us good to have a little something to resist? What better way to learn to sacrifice with a joyful spirit than to observe Advent and Christmas faithfully while not cracking down on the grandparents for buying a pile of gifts for the kiddies because they love them so? (Unless of course they're giving Barbies, at which I draw the line on grounds of taste, not expense.) I'm not much of a gift-giver myself, but it would be a true act of penance and a test of my generosity to buy presents for everyone in my family and get them there on time. For some, this comes naturally because they actually have a joyful spirit of giving. (Though most people I know who fall into this category also have far more disposable income than we do, so perhaps it's also a matter of sharing blessings.)

I'm not talking about those who give gifts and practice Christmas cheer because that's just what you do in December. If it's not a religious holiday for you, then don't celebrate Christmas and save yourself the stress! But there are many for whom Christmas as a religious observance is entirely compatible with the celebratory aspect of the holiday: lavish giving of gifts and all-out home decoration and parties galore. That's not the way I prefer to do it, but I do need to step back from the idea that these aren't valid or authentic ways to express the joy of the season.


Julie D. said...

Thank you! I like your idea that it is good for us to have something to resist ... it makes staying in that Christmas budget not just a necessity but also a sacrifice to offer (if we do it in the right way). Way to expand the Advent season into daily life!

mrsdarwin said...


I'm re-reading my post, and I'm appalled that I didn't put up a link to your site! Saturday on the brain, I guess. Now I'm breaking rules of post protocol (sob). Don't kick us off your blogroll, I beg!

Julie D. said...

If only I had noticed ... :-0