Convert Confession: Christmas Adrift


#1

Having been raised a heathen in a Godly society (which was waaay back when typewriters were still the norm), I always longed to become Catholic.

Now that I am one, I find myself confused about certain aspects of day-to-day behavior.

Take Christmas.

I believed since childhood that Christmas was a time for anticipation, singing Christmas carols in assembly, watching Christmas specials on TV, having parties with friends and family, NO SCHOOL for two whole weeks, and presents.

Now I discover that it’s none of the above. (To be blunt, some of it was wearing on me a bit).

But you grow up with a certain set of emotions and expectations surrounding this day, and when that is taken from you, you’re cast adrift.

The Christmas I used to celebrate seems shopworn. And where are the Christmas specials. Not ONE on Christmas day! What gives?

I know what I’m supposed to believe and feel about Christmas. I just don’t think it’s coming naturally.

What about you other converts, especially those who did not know Jesus growing up? Or is it just me?


#2

Eh, it's not only converts.

Our whole society is so secularized, it's like they're afraid to offend anyone who isn't Christian (even though we're the majority :shrug:). That's exactly the problem...Instead of putting God first, we put others first.

I remember thinking last Christmas...wow, there are a lot of Halloween movies on. ^^;;

As far as church functions, if you aren't being prepared for Christmas during advent, I'd see if I could go to a different catholic church, if there is a more traditional one nearby. That's just wrong if you're not. Join the choir there and sing 'til your heart's content. :)


#3

I understand. I also grew up in a secular home. Christmas was special, loving and fun but nothing to do with Christ. Now I am a mom and wife and struggle to put the “Christ in Christmas” somewhat because I had no Catholic traditions growing up and my extended family is still not Christian. My advice would be don’t expect too much of yourself and others but gradually introduce aspects of Christianity into your Christmas celebrations in a way that is meaningful for you. For example go to midnight mass and the other Christmas liturgies and any celebrations your parish or diocese offers. Having devout friends really helps you keep your focus on Christ and maybe you can invite some of them over during this current Christmas season?

God knows where your heart is. Give yourself to Jesus each day, thank him and praise him and let the rest develop naturally. We are in a relationship with Christ and just like any other it takes time to develop, grow, deepen and strengthen.


#4

CS Lewis has been quoted someplace else here, but in general he said Christmas is actually 3 overlapping events. There is first the religious celebration of the Incarnation and Birth of Christ when God entered human history and became man, initiating our liberation from sin and death. This is overlaid by a veneer of cultural customs which vary from time to place, and draw not only on the symbols which illustrate the truth of the Gospel story, but also on earlier pagan customs and rituals which actually contain nuggets of the Truth in their symbolism. This is overlaid by a third more ephemeral event, the general holiday season which is marked as a needed break from daily work, allowing family and friends to gather, exchanges of gift and general good will including remembrance of the poor.

Our memories and emotions are conditioned by elements of all three, but the good that is in any “layer” of this event comes ultimately from the grace of Christ, whether or not those who participate in and benefit from any of these activities know it or not.

Look for Christ and you will find Christmas.


#5

Thanks, everyone. I’m always wondering if I’m doing stuff ‘right.’


#6

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