12/28/11

About that question...

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How was your Christmas?

For many, that's a fairly personal question.  In most cases, it's asked with a particular certainty that the response will be in the joyful affirmative.  I'm not sure if a real answer, a true answer, is expected or desired.

Then there's the matter of the phrasing, "your Christmas..."  Just what is my Christmas or your Christmas?  Is Christmas something that's belongs to us?  that we own or possess?  Or is it truly more something that we hope to enter into, to celebrate, to participate in?  There's something about the notion of "my" Christmas or "your" Christmas that's limiting, possessive of something that should be free for all.

All of this on the heels of several weeks of answering the question, "How was your Thanksgiving?"

And of course there are those for whom the holidays are a difficult emotional time and who can't wait for Christmas to be fading in rear view mirror.

I'm also struck by the reality that this question, "How was your Christmas?" is asked of believers by non-believers, or at least by those for whom Christmas has little if any faith connection.  One doesn't have to be a wise woman or man to see that Christmas is celebrated by those who practice no faith as it is by those who struggle to live their faith day in and day out.  

Isn't it amazing that folks who otherwise celebrate none of the Christian mysteries choose to prepare for this day, its social festivities and all the spending and gift-giving as much if not more than those who celebrate December 25th as a holy day on the calendar and in the annual cycle of the mystery of Christ in our lives and in our world?

Priests are routinely asked, "How was your Christmas?  I know this is your busy time!"  Truth be told, Lent and Holy Week make Advent and Christmas look like a piece of (fruit) cake!  Christmas this year in my parish was preceded by four funerals in the fourth week of Advent.  That was a busy time - and it had nothing to do with Christmas.

I hope I'm not sounding like the Grinch here.  Just raising some questions that cross my mind each year as people ask over and over again, "How was your Christmas?"  

My Christmas is still going on: for twelve days, at least, until Epiphany (January 8 this year) and, for the purist in me, until the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord which this year is celebrated on Monday, January 9.

 
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1 comment:

Linda Reid said...

I too, am continuing my celebration of the great feast of Christmas until January 9th! And we (Catholics, Christians) need to continue to be very vocal about it! I am beginning to notice small things like there was still Christmas music playing in McDonald's on Tuesday, the 27th! There are still some Christmas ads on the TV - small in-roads perhaps, but in the right direction!