Sunday, December 6, 2009

To Celebrate or Wait - Part II

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 . . .

14 comments:

Jules said...

Follow your heart, you can't go wrong...

MiMi said...

I didn't know that putting the tree up before the 19th was discouraged. I wonder if you are the only person I know who is Catholic that is gonna follow the rules?? Cuz all my Catholic friends break em! ; )

Emmy said...

Good for you. This world needs more people that really believe in something and try and follow it. The world would be a lot better place if more people just truly believed.

KID said...

Growing up with Catholic, European immigrant parents, our traditions were a bit different. We believed the Angels brought us our gifts (and tree) on Christmas Eve to celebrate the birth of Christ. We celebrated St. Nicholas Day on Dec 6, with small stocking stuffer type gifts in the spirit of St. Nicholas. I'm struggling to combine my family traditions with my DH's this year. For example our tree is up already, but we did St. Nick's Day today.

Theta Mom said...

I never knew those dates were when you were supoosed to do them! You need to do what works for you and your family. BTW, I got your comment saying you had to type in my url! Yikes! Any better yet? Hopefully? At least am I in the Dashboard?

tori said...

I'm sorry you are struggling with this. I think as long as you are keeping the traditions balanced (fun things with Christ centered things) you're kids will learn and remember the true meaning.

Tyne said...

You are sweet. I really love reading your honest posts (although I am a decade behind). The Lord knows the motives of your heart. Rejoice and celebrate this awesome season where God provided for us a gift that is of far more value than ANYTHING we could ever stick on a wish list. Your heart of worship will spill out into a fa la la la la of wonder for your kids. Love to you and yours this season!

Tooj said...

I realized after leaving my comment that your struggle was most likely due to what the season represents to your faith. While I don't have roots like yours, I can certainly respect (and try to remember!) that your thoughts might be coming from a far different base than mine. :) I might say reindeer ear? Why NOT? Hopefully next time though, I'll stop and say....why not? OH, because.....

shortmama said...

I love that you are trying to find the balance...I think its important for kids to have as much background on everything as they can. When I was a kid I grew up going to different churches. I was baptized Catholic but in addition to mass, I also was involved in a community church for different activities and in the summer went to the baptist church for vacation bible school. I think it really shaped me into the beliefs and morals that I hold today.

shortmama said...

Oops wasnt done yet...

exposing your kids to the traditions of the church and the commercial traditions is a great balance...you will figure out what works best with your family. These things will stick with them and create new traditions.

Trish said...

Stopping over from SITS to say hi!!! I totally agree with Tyne!

Rachel Cotterill said...

Fascinating to read your thoughts on this.

Dropping in from SITS with Christmas wishes.

BLOGitse said...

Merry SITSmas
from Cairo!

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