Last year Christmas symbols were in the sanctuaries of our parish a week or two before the holiday. Increasingly my Advent sermons are pastoral, helping people survive all the holiday stresses and understand the Christmas traditions. We had the Advent lessons and wreath and a few Advent carols, but it was really the season of Christmas.
Because of complicated work schedules, extended families and stepfamilies, many parishioners are celebrating Christmas with family gatherings and gift exchanges before Dec. 24.
We must rethink what the Advent and Christmas seasons are all about. Advent and Christmas began as a Christian reinterpretation of pagan winter solstice celebrations already in place. The problem is not that others may be guilty of taking Christ out of the winter solstice celebrations, but that Christians are guilty of putting Christ into them all! It's up to us to give them his special meaning.
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