First, I want to be sure to say Thank You to my bloggy friends for your brilliant holiday suggestions and your unconditional support of my desire to wear reindeer ears. There are days when your comments alone make my world go round. Wednesday might have been one of them. Anywhoo . . .
I'm concerned that I wasn't quite clear on the reason for my struggle with festive vs. faithful. I am 143% into festive and don't have an issue with it. Eggnog for breakfast anyone? HOWEVER, my children attend private Catholic school and the formal teachings of the church don't mesh with eating sugar cookies for dinner and changing the outgoing message on the answering machine to Christmas carols. Thus my dilemma and maybe a little background.
I was raised as a Southern Baptist. When I moved to California there weren't an abundance of baptist churches and I attended Catholic mass with E. There was a certain comfort to me in the tradition and formality of the Catholic church that I hadn't been exposed to before. E never pushed me to convert to the religion and it was never an issue for us. I just kept taking my Baptist self to the Catholic church and folding my arms at communion.
When I was pregnant with The Athlete it became SUPER important to me to unify our faith. I was terrified to bring a child into in a world full of missing morals and misplaced values and religion was something tangible for me to give our family. I went through catechism while I was pregnant and was confirmed several weeks after The Athlete was born. Attending religious education as an adult was life changing for me and something I cherish deeply. For all the things I do wrong as a parent that one thing feels so right.
Back to the issue of festive. When we went to mass on Sunday night (last week, first Sunday of Advent) there was a newly fashioned sign in the Sanctuary that reads "Vigilant Anticipation". The church strongly encourages us not to get wrapped up in the commercialism of the holiday but to stay focused on our preparations for the celebration of Christ. Heavy stuff. For some reason this season it is particularly important to me to be sure that our holiday traditions are firmly rooted in the right place. Not just in our letters to Santa and decorating the tree, but identifying how the true meaning of the season impacts us. Both as a family and as faithful parishioners.
I've spent a few days reviewing material that's come home from school and doing some independent research on religious traditions of Advent. I will have to compromise. I simply cannot go along with decorating our tree on December 19. Can't. Won't. Not gonna do it. I am also not waiting to complete our Nativity Scene on December 23. But we have begun saying our bedtime prayers in front of it and are saying a special Christmas prayer for those in need when we light our Advent wreath each night.
Will we do it again next year? I honestly don't know. But I do believe that trying to do the right thing is better than none at all. And I learned from you that even the important lessons can be taught when wearing reindeer ears. Thank you, my friends. I do look better in the glow of the Christmas tree . . .