A Very Patheos Catholic Christmas

A Very Patheos Catholic Christmas December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas from all of us at Patheos Catholic.

Here are some Christmas thoughts from some of the various writers at our site.


Santa Claus Sitting with Laptop Stock Footage Video (100% Royalty-free) 4562000 | Shutterstock

The monitor, it twinkled! My mood, it was merry! 🙂
But then “momma” saw all the “e’s,” and ’twas “hairy!” 🙁
When she grimaced and winced , and shook her fair head, {{{ >;-C }}}
She gave me to know I had plenty to dread. :-O
Then without a word, she left really quick, :-I —-> {?}
And I was alone with ole jolly St. Nick. 😀
But pointing his finger straight out at my nose,
He launched into most shocking “preacher man” prose:

Emmanuel’s what this great night’s all about;
He’s brought us new life so you better not pout.
Focus on Him, not malls, lights, and me.
And cut down on e-mail so a dad you can be.
Christmas is much more ’bout love than of credit.
Its message will fill up your soul if you let it.
So always remember the most valued things,
Are God, loved ones, heart, not cyberspace flings.

He sprang to his web page; my PC gave a clickin’;
And away he did fade, and his exit did quicken.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he “morphed” out of sight,
“Christ in Christmas is All, and to all He is Light!”
Dave Armstrong THE MEGABYTE BEFORE CHRISTMAS  “Dave’s Old-Fashioned Christmas Page” [Internet Archive: from 4 December 2003 on my original website] Biblical Evidence for Catholicism @ Patheos Catholic

The Manger and the Cross | Reform Magazine

For Christians, the holiest time of the year is the Easter season. While Christmas is a major Christian holiday (unlike Hanukkah, which is a minor holiday for Jews), Easter is the holiest day of the Christian liturgical year. All of our holy days point to Easter, prepare for it, or flow from it. Christmas is important because Christ enters into human history, but the purpose for doing so is to suffer, die, and then rise again on Easter.
Michelle Arnold, O Stay Home, All Ye Hypocrites (November 30, 2020) Michelle Arnold @ Patheos Catholic

Christmas Poor, 1936 Photograph by Granger

You, young or old, are waiting for Christmas, longing for it. Good. We can get lost in the preparations for the Feast: the tree, the decorations, buying presents, and so on. Rather than souring on the season, elevate your worries. First, remember the poor, who in a heartbeat would trade their stresses for yours—and respond accordingly, with alms and with anything else you can give, especially yourself.

And also remember that it is for the poor that Christ is coming, and for the weak, the downtrodden, the outcast, the sorrowful, the “poor banished children of Eve, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.”
Sean P. Dailey The season of Advent (December 3, 2018) Chaos and Old Night @ Patheos Catholic

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen | Christmas Specials Wiki | Fandom

Hence the contrast between secular holiday tunes and Christmas carols. The secular songs celebrate the things of this world — good things. Friends, family, snowy weather, gifts, sleigh rides, camaraderie. Things worth appreciating, certainly. A good Christmas carol, in contrast, picks up on the desperation. It finds everything that’s lacking even after you’ve counted your earthly blessings.

Consider “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” which wishes tidings of comfort and joy not because all is well at home, but because Christ our Savior came to save us from Satan’s power. “What Child is This?” isn’t content to sit around the manger with gurgling baby Jesus, but reminds us “nails, spear, shall pierce Him through, the cross be borne for me for you.” When you need to wake up your Lent, any proper Christmas song will do the trick, and vice versa. Mall traffic or no mall traffic, you can’t go so very wrong with “O Sacred Head Surrounded” for all your elfin-overload recovery needs.
Jennifer Fitz, Holiday Despair and the Meaning of Christmas (December 20, 2015) Sticking the Corners @ Patheos Catholic

Did you know that there is a popular Christian song, played often at Christmastime, asking questions about what exactly Mary knew (or didn’t know) concerning the newborn Jesus she was nursing? This song actually affords a rare opportunity for Catholics and other Christians to enter into serious theological reflection. It invites a faith-dive into Mariology, into Christology, Soteriology, Ecclesiology, and Theological Anthropology. If masticated, it would challenge the singers and audience to glimpse at how they think.
Fellow Dying Inmate, Did Mary Know?—Considering the Mother of God (January 1, 2020) Messy Interpretations @Patheos Catholic

Favorite Christmas Movies | Hennessy Transportation – a Cooper Global Alliance

Christmas is the birthday celebration of Jesus Christ. To quote a phrase that lots of people don’t want to hear, because they consider it a buzzkill: Jesus is the reason for the season. All the Christmas emphasis on love, peace, joy, togetherness, family and so on, began with a little family in a stable in Bethlehem. Everything else is born of that, as people found creative ways to celebrate the wonder of what happened on the first Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not putting down the annual flood of cheerful, twinkly Christmas movies. In a world full of depressing, dystopian dreck, they’re a welcome light in the darkness (as Christ is), and an antidote to the world’s tendency to wallow in cruelty and misery (as Christ is). Even if they don’t get into the particulars of the religious origins of the holiday, they do express many of its themes, which are always welcome.
Kate O’ Hare Maybe More Christmas Movies Need a Little Christ (November 10, 2020) Kate O’ Hare’s Pax Culturati  @ Patheos Catholic

Bethlehem Night Shepherds Angels Motion Background | The Skit Guys

I am going to do my best to just bask in the miracle of God made human, of a Heavenly Father Who loves you and me so much that He came down here to live in the muck with the rest of us as the adopted baby boy of a humble carpenter. Our Lord and Savior Who was born as an outcast in a conquered land, born in a stable and Who had a stone manger for His first crib, is born again this Christmas season in our hearts.

I want to ponder, without the intrusions of our beautiful day of celebrating, the miracle of His birth. I want to consider that the great I Am Who made everything, everywhere, consented to be one of us, and that He gave us this beautiful message that being one of us, meant, from the beginning, that He was one of the Least of These.

I sit here in my comfortable chair in a house with central air and heat that is so efficient I have to step outside to know if the weather has turned cold or not. I wonder what it was like on that cold desert night, in a cave/stable.

The shepherds came — shepherds, not kings, not even the local rabbi — but shepherds, dressed in the same clothes they wore when herding sheep and sleeping on the ground. They came because the angels sent them, choosing, once again, to emphasize that this newborn King was not a king of palaces and pomp, but the Son of a God Who loves us all, loves us each and every one, and Who is not, never has been and never will be, a respecter of persons.
Rebecca Hamilton, If You’re Catholic, Christmas Isn’t a Day. It’s a Season. December 26, 2014) Public Catholic @ Patheos Catholic

History of Christmas Trees - HISTORY

For children, Christmas trees promise gratification: that gratification will show up below their branches on Christmas morning.

However, for followers of Christ, Christmas trees are signs of celebrating and embracing the first coming of Christ.

And Christ called for our REPENTANCE on a road that could turn even Christmas trees into beams for our own CRUCIFIXIONS.
Fr. Stephanos Pedrano, O.S.B. (December 5, 2020) Turn! Love! Repeat! @ Patheos Catholic

The Muppet Christmas Carol GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

You can watch all the Christmas movies you like, and there are hundreds. Some people like Hallmark Christmas cheese. Some people like to watch The Nutcracker. My favorite challenge is to watch as many different versions of A Christmas Carol as you can get your hands on. There’s a big-budget musical starring Albert Finney that I love, there’s a version with Patrick Stewart that’s faithful to the book, a cartoon by the person who made The Snowman, there’s a Flintstones one, a five-minute Warner Brothers cartoon with Yosemite Sam as Scrooge, there’s Mr. Magoo, the Muppets, there must be a hundred or more. Watch a new version of A Christmas Carol every night in your PJ’s if you want to. Get a group of your friends to watch at the same time and live tweet it on social media. It could be great.

You can still cook a Christmas dinner for your immediate household. Have a great big Italian feast like we Pezzulos always do even though we’re barely Italian in spite of the name. I make lasagna bolognese and spaghetti and meatballs and fetuccini alfredo and Italian sausage and risotto. If Italian isn’t your thing, you can have roast goose and plum pudding, or tamales or Tikka Masala or anything you like. Make mulled wine and egg nog. Bake cookies and cakes. Eat your feast in front of A Christmas Carol if you want to.
Mary Pezzulo, No, Christmas is Not Canceled (November 16, 2020) Steel Magnificat @ Patheos Catholic

Ruth Bell Graham: Jesus, or Santa? - The Billy Graham Library Blog

It is hard. It’s easier to understand a jolly man in a red suit flying around with reindeer than it is to understand God’s infinite, aching, love for humanity. Perhaps this is why many adults never really move past the Santa thing. But Santa Claus is only a symbol, and an incomplete one at best. Santa’s gifts are to the incarnation as a three-leaf clover is to the Trinity. A teeny, tiny inkling of a beginning of a concept.

It’s good for Christians to believe in Santa – up to a point. But the goal is not to sustain belief in Santa for as long as possible. Quite the opposite, in fact. I want my children to question. I want them to ask what it’s all about, so that I can help guide them to a deeper, fuller truth about Christmas. Because the wonder of Christmas morning isn’t about presents. It’s about The Presence. The active and constant presence of God in our lives at every moment. Christmas is about receiving this presence into our homes and into our hearts. It’s about faith.

Now that I think about it, you do have to believe to receive.
Emily Claire Schmitt, Santa Claus Teaches Us to Marvel at God’s Incarnation (December 7, 2020) Femina Ferox @ Patheos Catholic

Looping. Three Red Christmas Candles Stock Footage Video (100% Royalty-free) 3119728 | Shutterstock

If the manger scene and the Christmas story are “just a symbol” for many who do not practice the Christian religion, we can view that as nihilistic and empty – if we demand absolute assent and are unwilling to live with mystery. We can write this off as weak or insufficient in comparison with our firm creeds.

The problem is that for many throughout history, a place of shadow and uncertainty is where we end up residing. Is God here? Is God real? Is this sense of divinity a message from heaven? Is this bread God’s body? Demanding hard answers may look like the real faith as opposed to mushy uncertainty, but this reduces faith to a series of merely intellectual operations, denying the element of the physical that is present in symbol and myth – denying the power of ritual in the movements of the body, lighting of candles, singing songs, opening doors.
Rebecca Bratten Weiss, Christmas Is For Everyone, Not Only the True Believers (December 21, 2019) Suspended in Her Jar @ Patheos Catholic

12 Days of Christmas Graphics | LoveToKnow

Yes, it is still Christmas until January 6.

This raises a possible solution to the whole Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays dilemma. Why not wait to say Merry Christmas until Christmas day, and then surprise people with it for the Twelve Days of Christmas? You might still offend people, but you would at least not be predictable.

Our society seems increasingly to be falling into a rut of empty, slogan-ridden conflict, in which people throw cliches at each other, or more likely pat each other on the back for accepting the same cliches.
We need to become more adventurous, mischievous, and persistent in challenging these false dichotomies and these empty slogans.

What if Christians stopped using the Incarnation of the Logos as a party shibboleth and instead took it as the occasion for riotous joy, generous love, and playful defiance of the powers that think they rule the world?
Edwin Woodruff Tait, Merry Christmas! (January 1, 2014) Light in the West @ Patheos Catholic

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