Elsewhere this evening, I was casually writing about Christmas parties and how much I love them.  I don’t even mind if they’re called “holiday parties,” and I’ve never met a non-Christian who was offended when, in practice, they really were Christmas parties.  There’s just something about the festivity, food, fellowship, music, etc. that just makes everybody enjoy being human and alive!

Nor do such earthly festivities diminish the religious meaning of Christmas: the birth of Christ, true God and true man, the Savior, the King, the Messiah, God Incarnate.  One of the most mind-blowing events in human history!

Sure, it’s possible to get wound up in unimportant, mundane, material things.  Unfortunately, such things have largely pervaded and possessed our society.  And it happens even to the most devout of us.  But when it happens to you, you have the option to pick yourself up and get on the right road again.  You have the option to pursue the meaning and mystery behind it all.  As I said before, it tends to take me the first 2 weeks of Advent to get to that point… but I’m learning and growing, and it’s never too late, right?  Just let us not get discouraged or despair.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen;
let nothing ye dismay!
Remember Christ our Savior
was born on Christmas Day!

I think that verse can apply to Advent.

As with so many things, the term “both-and” applies to celebrating Christmas.  You can eat, drink, and be merry and revere the Savior’s birth.  They are not mutually exclusive.  They are both part of reality.  Catholics are neither puritans nor hedonists.  We are a sacramental people: we often find truth and spiritual significance in earthly things, and certainly in meals and fellowship–things always at the heart of a good party!

For us, the good things in earthly life often evoke greater realities and things to come in the next world.  And we ought to thank, praise, and bless God every day for that, as the great Hilaire Belloc says:

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
there is always laughter and good red wine.
At least I have always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!

In any case, I am praying and pondering during this last week of Advent, looking forward to celebrating the Nativity of the Lord, and also enjoying some fun festivities!  Life is overflowing… life is good!

And it shall be especially good if I can get through the rest of this month without somebody trying to bore me to death (or at least to tears) by lecturing me on how Christmas symbols are really pagan, or how Christ wasn’t really born on 25 December, or any other inconsequential drivel that doesn’t even come close to getting the point of Christmas, whether for a devout religious observer or for a more secular merry-maker.

To think… I was once one of those somebodies! If I could, I’d willingly and gleefully give my former self a sound thwacking for being such a smug, self-interested “intellectual” addicted to congratulating myself on my cleverness and superiority to all the Christmas-loving sheeple.  Ha.

Related post:

Eat, Drink, and Be Grateful!

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