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It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas… or Is It?December 19th, 2012
I try to avoid going to the mall for as long as possible, but itâ€™s Christmas time, at least in the eyes of those doing the buying and selling.Â So, I went to the mall with my wife and at first enjoyed some of the many signs of Christmas in every store â€“ artificial pine trees obviously trimmed by professional decorators, synthetic snow, colored lights of all sorts, and of course Christmas sales seemingly on every item.Â Signs wishing â€śHappy Holidaysâ€ť and â€śSeasons Greetingsâ€ť to all were everywhere.Â All of this was accompanied by the sounds of the season â€“ songs about Frosty, Rudolph and of course the ever present chestnuts roasting on an open fire to name but a few.
It was the music first of all that gave me sense that something was missing.Â I began to notice that there were no songs about the herald angels, the three kings, or the first noel, not even instrumental versions.Â The music inspired me to look around at all those brightly lit decorations and â€śChristmasâ€ť displays.Â As you might expect Santa Claus was everywhere both in person and in many animated forms.Â Oversized toy trains appeared in several stores laden with wrapped presents.Â The large commercial decorations on the larger than life trees sparkled vividly in comparison to the many homemade ornaments that would eventually adorn the modest Christmas tree at home.Â But most of all I noticed that Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the magi were not anywhere to be found. Â In fact there wasnâ€™t anything that could remotely be called Christian.
It may be that the intention was to avoid making those who are not Christians feel uncomfortable with reminders about a holiday which celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.Â Perhaps people will buy more if the stores abstain from reminding them about such religious sensibilities. Whatever the reason, you would never know that Christmas is a religious holiday by the decorations and music at the mall.
But that is not the point of this blog.Â Leaving the mall with our purchases safely stowed in the trunk, I began to think about our home and wondered if our familyâ€™s decorations really reflect what we believe.Â We have an Advent wreath of course and several crĂ¨ches or nativity scenes, one of which would be chosen to be displayed during the Christmas season.Â But as I thought about the 7 foot Christmas tree that would soon be the largest decoration to adorn our home, the many religious and secular ornaments we have received or made over the years, and the stockings hung by the chimney with care, I wondered if the guests coming into our home during this celebration of the Incarnation could tell by the way we have trimmed our home that we claim to be Jesusâ€™ disciples.
Inspired by the mall, I have decided to be certain that all of the decorations that actually celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary and the birth of Jesus Christ have a prominent place.Â Instead of displaying just one of our nativity scenes this year, I think I will display all three in obvious places.Â This also would seem to be a good time to make sure that the ornaments with a Christian theme are all hung on the tree in an obvious place.Â And although Frosty and Rudolph will probably make guest appearances in our choice of Christmas music, I will make sure the herald angels and the three kings also get a lot of play on my iPod.
We have always had Catholic art work in our home, but this year I want to make certain that our decorations send the clear message that Christmas is a festival of the Incarnation of our Lord and Savior.
So, what kinds of decorations are on display in your home?
Image credit: “Adoration of Shepherds” by von Honthorst, Public Domain