Still Not Seeing the Reason for the Season? Here’s Why. 15

I have nothing against supporting companies that support Christmas and I have nothing against boycotts. But I have to ask, in doing so, what are we supporting / boycotting?

naugty niceCould it not just be the commercialization of Christmas?

When I’m strolling through the mall as Christmas approaches, my senses are bombarded with…. Christmas or commercialism?

I see Santa Claus, reindeer too. I hear “Deck the Halls” and “I’ll Have a Blue…” And I say to myself…

What a wonderful world, but where’s Jesus?

None of this is new, but here’s the thing. I’m not sure any “Naughty or Nice” blacklist really does anything to remind or ensure people that Jesus is the reason for the season, because whether or not Hallmark or Walmart appeases its customers with Christmas Greetings rather than “Happy Holidays” really doesn’t make a difference. For them and for many shoppers Christmas just is a commercial holiday.

To be sure, just listen to the music played in these stores at Christmas time. They are not religious carols. You never hear the names Jesus and Mary. Maybe you’ll be surprised with an occasional “Silent Night.” Actually, you are more likely to hear John Lennon’s “And So This Is Xmas… And What Have You Done?” with Yoko’s banshee howling in the background.

Not the way I want to get ready for Christ’s coming to live among us this year.

Advent Begins Tomorrow

Tomorrow night, the Church celebrates the Vespers and Vigil Mass for the First Sunday of Advent.

Instead of praising Kroger or shaming Barnes and Noble over their Christmas friend or unfriendly commercial campaign, there is a better way to prepare our hearts and souls for Christmas. Celebrate Advent intensely.

Here are a few tips to start preparing Jesus a humble home in your hearth on Christmas Day.

  • Buy a new Advent wreath and light it every night during advent. 
  • Sing one or two Christmas Carols as a family at the lighting of the wreath each night.
  • Decorate your home for Christmas slowly (because Advent is a period of expectation); add just one decoration each day or night with your family, and get the whole family involved.
  • Make a special effort to attend daily Mass during this time.
  • Pray as a family more frequently during Advent.
  • Consider praying some of the Liturgy of the Hours. The readings, psalms, and prayers during this season are specifically chosen for enkindling a growing love for Christ in our hearts, as we await his coming at Christmas.
  • Finally, don’t sweat the commercialism. Let your light shine where ever you go and bring the true spirit of Christmas with you.

Many of you probably already do a lot of these things suggested above. I would be more than happy if you would share some of your family’s Advent traditions with us here.

Have a Blessed Advent, Everyone!

15 comments

  1. I wonder where I could find the names of stores here in the UK that don’t support Christmas whole-heartedly? Do you have any ideas?
    I really like your suggestions on how to anticipate Christmas during Advent. Very appealing.
    Today talk about Advent Calendars came up, as it does on an annual basis, I found out that the children are wanting LEGO calendars!!! Say no more!

    • I’m not sure about the UK retailers, unless some of the ones on the list above also operate in the UK. I am sure there must be some list on the internet, though.

      Just a little spirituality each day for the kids during Advent and they will wake up Christmas morning with more than just Legos to play with. The important thing is not to let secularism and commercialism have the upper hand.

  2. You are right. I am always discussing with friends and family how commercialism has taken over the Christian holidays, so why should I be offended if one says “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”? One store has found it more profitable to say one thing over the other, and they are following that trend, profit, or population. I try not to worry myself so much with the “war on Christmas” in the news every year. Of course many are offended by Christ; he’s an offensive guy (and God) to those who choose anything but love as a way of life… Thanks for the Advent tips! God bless!

    • The problem with the War on Christmas is not only that it distracts, it also detracts. The message of Christmas is “Peace on Earth.” The peace that Christ gives — not the peace that the world gives — is peace that brings joy to the heart. Seeking that peace in the heart and leaving things that destroy that peace is the way to live Advent. Our focus needs to be on preparing for Christ to come.

  3. To mark the beginning of Advent and to honour the upcoming Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we are beginning the Novena to the Immaculate Conception this evening and continuing until December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. You can find variations of the novena online. I think I downloaded ours from EWTN. We’ll pray the novena along with evening Advent prayers and the lighting of our Advent wreath. We can’t worry about what’s going on in the malls and stores but we can keep Christ in Christmas at home. A blessed Advent to you, James!

    • Blessed Advent to you too, Terry. Preparing for the Immaculate Conception and celebrating it at home is a great way to start off Advent. Thanks for sharing that with us. God bless!

  4. This is wonderful! That table made me want to bang my head against a wall (a number of times), but your wonderful suggestions stopped me. :)

    I’ll just add that as an Australian, I think it’s more obvious when Christmas is about Christ or about commercialisation – because stores and organisations often adapt the “Christmas culture” that focuses on winter themes and ignores Christ.

    When it’s actually winter at Christmas, there’s an organic relationship between the two and it makes a lot more sense. But here? Well, let’s just say it’s going to be 40 C today and I’m not expecting any snow or sleighs or reindeer anytime soon.

    Sorry, that’s my frustrated Southern-hemisphere rant for the day!

    Thanks again for this and praying we all have a holy and humble Advent.

    • I never even thought about that! I mean, you obviously celebrate Christmas in the Southern-hemisphere, but that winter themes substituting for Jesus in the dead middle of summer, that’s what flips my lid. I’m sure a lot of people must have caught on to this, but that they go along with it… Then again, we go along with it too. Thanks for sharing this — food for thought for the rest of the day!

  5. I really want to get my family on board with the true meaning of Christmas. I don’t mean to be Bah Humbug, but I really dislike the gift exchanges that occur at this time of year. How can I tactfully tell my in-laws and other family members that I don’t think we should exchange presents anymore?

    • Tough question, Trish.

      You know what they do in Latin America? They exchange gifts on the Epiphany, on January 6 (usually celebrated on the closest Sunday in the US). That is a good time to exchange gifts, because it was when the Three Kings brought gifts to Jesus. So, you can give more meaning to the gift exchange by bringing the Gospel into it and thereby bring your lives into the Gospel. That was my first thought. As to not exchanging gifts at all, I would need to give that some more thought.

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