Saturday, December 10, 2011

Premature Christmas

As the Christmas season approaches quickly it is made more and more evident that something is wrong.  The carols are sounding, the movies are playing, the cookies are being eaten; but I still can't help wondering, where's Christmas?!  
It hasn't come yet?
What do you mean it hasn't come yet?  We're already celebrating!  Already having parties and eating our goodies, and watching A Christmas Story on repeat, day in and day out.
But Christmas hasn't started!
See a problem?  You should.  You see, we're celebrating a wonderful thing, in a terrible manner.  We're premature.  And as any married couple will tell you, no matter how wonderful something is, the word premature should never come before it.
But all jokes aside, what's wrong with premature Christmas?  The same thing that's wrong with premature other things.
Think of children who are allowed to eat dessert before dinner.  Sure it's an immediate gratification, but you end up with nothing more than a tummy ache and a sinking feeling that you have missed something very important.  The same is true with Christmas.  We get all worked up about it, and excited for this very special day, and then it's gone; like a thief in the night that snatches up your TV and your XBOX and darts out the window as fast as he can, Christmas goes by almost unnoticed, leaving us to go back to our boring, normal, lives with a chip on our shoulder and the feeling that we are missing something essential about this great celebration. 
Why does this happen, year after year?
Because we don't really celebrate Christmas.  You see, the Church sets aside a very special time of 12 days, or more depending on your location, for Christmas.  This time STARTS on the 25, not ends there.  
However instead of following the advice of Mother Church we all too often give in to our temptations to celebrate early, and completely avoid any self-denial or penance.  This is capitalized on by our consumerist society, and big businesses who want to use our excitement over the coming of Christmas to make as much profit from our premature celebration of this great season.  And year after year, we give in to these temptations and as a result we're left only really celebrating the first day of this beautiful season.  We get to gaze at the iceberg, but only see it from the surface.
What's wrong with that?  At least we celebrate, right?  
When we ignore the direction of The Church regarding Christmas we screw up the whole system.  We eat our dessert before we eat our dinner, we get too excited and don't make it to the feast.  We're invited to the marriage feast of Heaven and Earth, but don't show up because we couldn't keep ourselves from gorging ourselves on gingerbread and peppermint bark beforehand.
In finality we have set ourselves up as the arbiter.  And when we are the arbiter of our holiday's, or our anything for that matter, we screw things up, we do them wrong.  With ourselves as the judge we always end up with the short end of the stick.  
So instead of being premature this year, celebrate Christmas right.  Celebrate it when you're actually supposed to, and not a second too soon, or late for that matter.

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