December 15, 2007

Christmas & Advent

Resistance is futile – you will celebrate Christmas beginning Dec. 1st…or at least by the 2nd Sunday of Advent. Not because of commerce. Not because of premature carol-ulation (I was hearing Christmas carols on the local Christian radio station BEFORE Thanksgiving, causing me to switch channels quicker than a mo’ fo.) Nor because of the Christmas lights or Christmas trees.

No, Christmas early is caused by the incandescent Advent readings from Isaiah. How can one possibly hear these readings, the best of the Church year in my opinion, and not celebrate? The Mass readings just before Advent are apocalyptic, speaking of the end times, and then we feel pentitential but now is the time of the exuberant readings of Advent in which Christ is promised and tasted. The Advent readings – including the daily Lit of the Hour refrain: “your light will come Jerusalem…” - begin to wend their way along your epidermis and into your bloodstream and suddenly the Christmas carols are so very timely and.the inspiration of all those Christmas carols seems apparent. “God and sinners reconciled…Born to give them second birth.” Advent and Christmas are infused with hope in a way that no other liturgical season seems and hope is the greatest modern need. Easter (the Resurrection) is God acting with power, and we’ve grown weary and distrustful of power because of man’s example. But the Incarnation is God acting with tenderness and love, becoming a baby. Now, that is truly shocking.

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