Catholic Culture: Don’t Forget Advent

I feel that the Christmas season comes sooner and sooner every year, heck soon we’ll be like the Who’s down in Whoville counting down from December 26th! Now I totally don’t mean to be a Grinch (HA! get it?) but seriously this has got to stop. Part of what makes the Christmas season so special is that it doesn’t last forever, it certainly doesn’t last from Halloween to December 25th!

Catholics have a built-in speed bump to help us to slow down and I really urge you to think about not speeding ahead to Christmastime and instead enjoy the blessings of Thanksgiving and the anticipation of Advent, all which leads up to Christmas Day and the Twelve Days of Christmas.

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FYI: this is our tree from two years ago

Season of Advent vs Christmas

Advent starts the 4th Sunday before Christmas Day (this year it is December 3rd) and serves as preparation for the Nativity of Christ on Christmas Day. The liturgical color is purple, with rose on the 3rd Sunday of Advent. The most visible sign of this season is the Advent wreath, which is traditionally lit in the homes during the evenings. That means the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas are not the Christmas season at all, but the season of Advent.

The Christmas season doesn’t technically start until Christmas Day and lasts until the Epiphany (the day the Three Magi came to visit baby Jesus). Throughout history, Christmas decor did not go up until Christmas Eve and only remained up for those 12 days; however I am not about to wait until then to put up my tree!

Read more: Catholic Culture: Advent

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Doing Advent

Here’s how I try to balance the religious with the fun for this time of year:

  1. I never, ever do anything Christmas-y until after Thanksgiving Day (no music, movies, shopping, decorations, nada)
  2. Our Christmas tree is bought during the first weekend of Advent
  3. Our wreath comes out the first night of Advent and has a central location on our dining room table
  4. One of my goals this year has been to step up my attendance to Holy Days of Obligation so going to Mass on the Immaculate Conception (December 8th)
  5. Decorations stay up until the Epiphany, January 6th (the end of the Christmas Season)

Here’s a Catholic blogger, Carrots of Michaelmas that feels the same way I do about the extreme American season leap (although she is actually a bit more extreme than I am). Read her post: Confessions of a Liturgical Stickler Who Wants to Skip Advent This Year {And Advent Candle Giveaway}

JMF

If you’re Catholic, think about upping your Advent season and see if you enjoy it!

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