"Happy Holidays," the lady blithely said as she rang up my groceries. Not
"Holy Days," but "holidays." What "holidays"? It's "Season's Greetings"
and "Winter break" and vacation and (maybe) time for people to visit
families. In the schools it's the holy month of Ramadan, the season of
Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice, and Hanukkah, each of which are openly taught
in all their details, complete with singing songs, making arts and crafts to
commemorate them, and deeper explorations into the various cultural sources
for these. There is everything being commemorated and celebrated and
practiced and advocated, except of course for that one "holiday" (which
remains nameless), and which is quite pointedly being boycotted, and with
obvious societal and governmental approval.
Perhaps one might find more devotion at the shopping malls where at least a
commercial sense might still allow for some popular Christmas hymns (albeit,
only their instrumental versions, so people don't have to be "offended" by
the words) to be occasionally woven in amongst the Rudolph songs, the Santa
Claus songs, the wintery snowy songs, the good cheer songs, and then of
course there are those "goofy" songs - you know the ones I mean. Though
"All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" has thankfully receded into
the memory hole, "Grandma got run over by a reindeer" is still alive and
Even holiday shopping seems to be receding as people simply don't have the
time, the energy, the money, or even the ability to tolerate the commercial
bombast that has been building up gradually for much of the year ("It's only
the Fourth of July - why are they already putting up Christmas
decorations?"). I will simply be giving checks to my niblings this year.
Perhaps they will just get rid of Christmas altogether.
And would that be so very bad? Despite all the above I don't see it
happening, but suppose for a moment that it did. Then we real Catholics
would at last again have Christ's Mass to ourselves, for at least what the
world has no interest in, it won't be interested in distorting either. But
then again, how much do any of us do for the Feast of Annunciation, or
Immaculate Conception, or Peter and Paul, or Ascension Thursday? If we can
even make it to Mass for that day (especially those of us who must travel
far) that's probably about it. Maybe there is something positive to be said
for all the commerical hoo ha surrounding Christmas, for it can serve to
remind us of the important time that is near. But then again what more
important thing can we do than the Mass, the "most beautiful thing this side
But in the early days, the Nativity only began the buildup to that climax of
Epiphany, which latter was the big Holy Day to Christians (other than
Easter). So in a way, maybe we do have this. While the whole world is
going into its yearly "Post-Christmas letdown" and dismantling the trees,
the other decorations, throwing away the wrappings for the presents, and
getting back to life as usual (or "ordinary time"), we Catholics are just
getting started. By Epiphany, we pretty much have the Holy Day to
ourselves. And not to mention what a far superior time for shopping it is
as well, due to all the post-Christmas sales!
And Epiphany is definitely something to work and pray for. That was the
time that the world (in the form of the Three Kings), finally recognized for
the first time the King of Kings, and God (already present) was at last
revealed to mankind. We traditional Catholics already know among ourselves
that we alone are that living Mystical Body of that selfsame King of Kings.
And as it is every year with Christmas and Epiphany, so too we can rightly
expect that both the deceptions and the seductions will fall away, as do the
distortions and commercialisms of Christmas, only to leave everything to be
cleared for the King of Kings to reveal Himself, and ourselves as His holy
Church, the real Epiphany.
I have been blessed in that I always live in that Epiphany, and with all my
heart most earnestly pray that you may do so as well, God bless!