It’s that time of year again, and has been for a few weeks now. The Church names this season Advent, and intends it as a season of comtemplative preparation for the coming of Christ, the newborn King. We’ve taken that idea and run it in a bit of a different direction, of course; such is human concupiscence.
And tomorrow is Christmas Eve, the night which marks the birth of the Saviour. The morning after that, kids and adults alike will wake up, rush to the Christmas tree, and tear into their presents…hopefully after attending church services. (If you’re Catholic, allow me to point out that you’re obligated to attend Mass on Saturday and Sunday.)
It would be easy to become bitter about how commercial all the holidays and seasonal events have become — this morning, as I was getting my coffee, the other lady behind the counter at Starbucks was unloading merchandise for Valentine’s Day, for example — but really: wouldn’t you find that off-putting, good reader? I could start dropping cheeky terms like “Giftmas” if I wanted to, bemoaning how Christ has all but disappeared from consideration during this season…but that would probably just make you click away…hastily.
So, none of that.
Besides, I actually don’t see any problem with the gift-giving (and gift-getting) aspect of Christmas, as it is celebrated these days. Such rituals tend to draw families and friends together, and that’s a quite happily positive outcome which is quite fitting to find at Christmastime.
One parting thought: apropos of something Chesterton once said, give people gifts that they want and like, emphatically not what you feel would make a good gift. Parents, don’t be like these folks; get dolls for your girls and trucks for your boys, if that is what they want. And let me remind everyone that really, it’s almost impossible to go wrong with an iTunes gift card…unless the intended recipient is one of those folks who swears off of using anything Apple makes.
Merry Christmas, everyone. I promise I’ll be more interesting after Boxing Day.