Friday, November 30, 2007

Keeping Advent

At Snow on Roses, Tandaina has taken my Christmas is an Obscenity even further and more thoughtfully. Go read that.

She asks what Advent discipline I plan to adopt to avoid the wacky-craziness of "Christmas" in the U.S. I don't have an easy answer. Here are my snippets of an answer.

First, I plan to keep the television turned off except when it's absolutely needed (e.g., to watch the PBS Newshour, Charlie Rose, or football). I sense that the major fuel behind the American "Christmas orgy" is TV advertising; so I'll just spare myself.

Second, our parish distributed a little booklet this week of Henri Nouwen's Advent meditations. I'm going to set aside daily time to read and reflect and pray from them.

Third, I'm going to be in church as often as I can. In addition to the Sunday and Wednesday Eucharistic services, our new rector is offering Thursday evening sessions for meditation and intercessory prayer, followed by compline. I'll attend as many of those as my schedule allows. I have a hunch that being in church is the best possible antidote to the crazy Christmas orgy that is infecting so many of our people. It worked for me during Lent and into Easter earlier this year.

Here's another little rant about "Christmas" as it is practiced in my little town. In my office, there's a thing that has the shape and substance of a "Christmas tree." But it's decorated in red, white, and blue balls, with a few little "Uncle Sam" figures on it.

The city last night had the "official lighting" of a city "Christmas tree." All the ornaments and all the lights are … you guessed it … red, white, and blue.

And tomorrow, our little town will have its "Christmas" parade. And what do you reckon the theme of the parade will be? According to the local newspaper, the "Christmas" parade theme will be "A Star-Spangled Christmas." And all of this is occurring in the city whose official name is "The City of Jefferson" after Thomas Jefferson. I have no doubt that the sage of Virginia, who urged the "wall of separation between church and state," must be rolling in his grave.

I am sickened and troubled by this identification of Christianity and American patriotism. It reeks.

Me, I'm gagging on the notion that patriotism is some sort of Christianity … or that Christianity is somehow patriotic. (I can't tell which way they're spinning it.) But I believe it is sick, sick, sick.
Go over there to Tandaina's place. Read her words. She's more insightful and patient than I.


Blogger Jim said...


And we wonder why Moslems link our government's bombs with the Prince of Peace. ;;sigh;; Then we get the 'war' language that Rev. Elizabeth, I and others have been complaining about. Jesus did not come to empower armies!

I have linked to the amazing diocese of Washington Advent calendar from my blog. I hope it helps a few folks find it.

Come Lord Jesus.


Jim's Advent Blog

12/04/2007 8:01 AM  
Blogger Kirstin said...

I agree with you completely, and I won't share patience or insight that I don't have--but here is another really neat Advent calendar. Enjoy.

12/06/2007 10:19 AM  

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