Dear Fellow Catholics, It’s NOT Christmas

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

I can hardly believe I’m writing this. It’s embarrassing really. I feel like I’m telling someone “your zipper’s down.” But it’s become clear to me that it needs to be said. Please, share this important — albeit obvious — note with your friends. Tell everyone. Maybe even your priest.

Today is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Advent is quickly approaching, but it’s not here yet. You have to wait to wait.

Since it’s not yet Advent, it is surely not Christmas.

In the Catholic Church we have a time for everything. There is a liturgical order to things. I’ll be writing to you again and again during Advent on how important it is that we not skip it, that we observe Advent in our homes and our workplaces. That we prepare for Christ.

Believe it or not, the Christmas season at Macy’s is not our Christmas season. The two are not the same. American secularists celebrate things differently, according to their own (consumerist) liturgies.

I just wanted to remind you that, no, it’s not Christmas yet. Not even Advent. Wait for them. Let them come in their due season, at the right time.

Otherwise, it is terribly confusing. Think of our children and youth! No wonder they think we’re nuts. Celebrating Christmas during or before Advent is just plain crazy. It makes no sense and, even worse, it mocks the sacred timing of the traditional season of Christmas. Don’t make fun of your Mother Church. It’s very mean and a bad example and poor catechesis.

Please, let’s keep Christmas in Christmas.



PS: Read (and watch) the follow-up: The Beauty and Sufficiency of Catholic Liturgy.

  • JoeC

    While it’s not quite advent yet, I wanted to suggest to you this Advent album which is produced by the Brotherhood of Hope, the Order that does Campus ministry here at Rutgers, It is actually an advent CD not a Christmas CD.

    It’s the one titled A Season of Hope

  • Steve P in Detroit

    Not even Advent yet! But I was at a local parish on Friday, and outside the school office is a fully decorated Christmas tree, all lit up. Ugh.

  • Elizabeth Duffy

    Sometimes seasons in life that are beyond your control suggest to you certain liturgical seasons. I think it’s fine to take cues from the liturgy, to know how to deal with these seasons of life–even if they’re slightly out of order.

    Also, I’ve been caught with my pants down at the beginning of too many penitential seasons, not knowing how I’m going to mark them in my personal life. A little planning ahead can be very helpful, especially if one is of the ruminative temperament.

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  • Michelle

    I think the key to keeping our seasons catholic is intentional planning. Homemakers are primarily responsible for this in our domestic churches and I’ve found that when I have not planned out what each season will be like in my home, it is incredibly easy to fall into celebrating like the secular culture. As Catholics we have to make a planned deliberate choice to celebrate with the liturgical calendar. I always have to gather my courage around this time as all of my neighbors are already getting their lights up and Christmas trees decorated, ready to usher in the “Christmas Season” with Thanksgiving Day. It’s hard to appear like the killjoy and not join in the fun.

    • srocha

      You’re right, Michelle. And the killjoy aspect is troublesome. In the days to come, once Advent begins, I’ll share some practical ways that we commemorate Advent, without looking like party-poopers. And, of course, it’s important to party long and hard during the actual Christmas season, when everyone else is taking down their lights.

  • Steve

    According to my calculations, yesterday was the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, not the 23rd as your post indicates. Otherwise, another good post!

    • srocha

      Thanks for the catch! Corrected.


  • Michael Snow

    As a protestant I share your concern. This has been a burden on my heart for a long time. This year I was appalled to see Christmas stuff in the store before they had their Halloween stuff out! And last night I drove my a neighbor’s house and they have their Christmas tree set up in front of their window.
    One of the key points of my concern about this is that we LOSE the truly Christian meaning of Thanksgiving Day by focusing on what is not yet to the loss of what is.

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