Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Conversion of a Pre-Christmas Grinch Featured

Written by 

I’ve been described by some as a conservative Catholic.  I don’t know if I am or not, but I do have very strong views when it comes to issues like euthanasia and abortion.  I am thoroughly convinced that Jesus is truly, really and substantially present in the Eucharist.  And I’ve been known to be a real stickler regarding the difference between Advent and Christmas.

Now if these points don’t define one as being a conservative Catholic, then I don’t know what will!

I must however make a confession…I’m starting to relax about the whole Advent/Christmas thing, I mean really relax.

My poor wife, Tanya will testify to frustrating Advents she has spent with me the pre-Christmas Grinch. 

Every time we’d go Christmas shopping she would have to put up with me complaining (ranting really) about the Christmas music playing in the stores.  “Yeah, they’ll play Christmas music all Advent and then on Boxing Day (only day number two in the Christmas octave, by the way!) they’ll go back to playing C95!”

Every year, Tanya and I argue over when we can put up the Christmas tree.  Every good Catholic knows of course, that it isn’t supposed to go up until the 3rd Sunday of Advent!  (I’m sure some Pope somewhere in our history formally proclaimed that little nugget of truth)  And don’t get me started on people who light up the streets with their stringed lights before Advent even begins!

And how about all those people lining up to go see the Enchanted Forest in Advent?  Don’t they know that there’s 12 days of Christmas and those 12 days don’t start until December 25th?

No wonder that historically the season of Advent in the Clarke household hasn’t been one of joyful anticipation…I’ve been too grumpy to joyfully anticipate anything!

This Advent however will be different for me.  I ran into the grocery store late last night to pick up a few items and I found myself whistling along to the music playing in the store.  I only noticed as I bumped into another late night shopper doing the same and we smiled at each other.  It felt good to connect with another human being even with no exchange of words.  It wasn’t until I walked from the produce section to the bakery that I realized that all along I was mindlessly whistling to Christmas music, and it felt good.  I was in an awesome mood for I was hearing the Gospel being proclaimed in song.

This is one of the big reasons why I have relaxed so much regarding Advent and Christmas.  Maybe society has it all wrong; putting far too much focus on commercialism and the moving of products, but at what other time in the year can you hear the Gospel being proclaimed so boldly in a secular setting?  This is indeed a good thing; in fact, it is an awesome thing, even if the timing isn’t exactly Catholic.

The other big reason is my kids.  Who wants to grow up in a home with a pre-Christmas Grinch? 

So bring on the spiced rum and egg nog, let’s dress the Christmas tree and share the Gift of Jesus this Advent!  And whether our neighbours understand it or not, let’s keep it going for 12 days after the 25th!  I know that’s a lot of spiced rum and egg nog, but I think we’re up for the challenge.


Read 9434 times Last modified on Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Patrick Clarke

Patrick Clarke is the Administrator of the Cathedral of the Holy Family.  He is married to Tanya.  Together, they have two children: Ava (7) and Lachlan (4) and they are expecting their third child in February, 2013