How we are the both ands, not either/ors.
We are to love God first, and our neighbor as we do ourselves.
To live this reality means all, and it is intended to mean all. That’s how big our hearts need to grow, so that our finite selves never put a limit on love, because God does not. This does not mean embracing the abuser or pretending someone isn’t racist, it means praying for their conversion, for that “Amazing grace,” that often only happens when the wounded person encounters a kindness they know, is unmerited. God speaks in that act. Again, please do not think I am saying those injured by others need to go serve those who did the injuring directly, but that we are obligated to pray for the wounded, and the bullies, for both and, and in no small measure.
The more we pour out unexpected mercy, the more merciful the world will become. The more penance we do for the wounds we personally and we as the Body of Christ have inflicted on others, the more glory given to God.
It would have been beautiful.
I had a pretty literary photo and everything.
And then, life happened, and the algorithms decided more than anything, I wanted to buy an Advent Calendar, or more accurately, a Christmas Countdown Calendar that had nothing to do with Advent but people who buy Advent Calendars might accidentally purchase. I winced at the Lord of the Rings Advent Calendar. The geek in me said, “Well, at least Tolkien is Catholic…so there’s going to be some hints of…until I looked at it.” and when the copy says whether one is a hobbit, elf or a goblin, you will love…” I immediately thought hard pass.
Mind you, the only thing Advent about the calendar is the end date since the start date is December 1st. The package includes figurines to allow you to enact some degree of the scenes from the First Movie and some from the Hobbit series (which no one should allow themselves to recall). Oddly, there are three rings and a mish mash of the nine from the fellowship –let me tell you, Boromir is ticked. (I died. Radagast the Brown makes it and I don’t?) Also missing, Galadriel, Arwen, and Eowyn. (If you run into the Witch king, there’s not a party member that can slay him).
Whoever knew something about this project, I have a closing thought.
For fifty bucks go purchase a lovely nativity set. You’ll feel less irritated. Maybe I will as well.
Once I investigated, the algorithms went nuts. There were Avenger Advent Calendars, Inside Out Advent Calendars, Pokemon, Harry Potter and Vineyard based, Home Alone and Diehard, Whiskeys and Friends, because nothing says waiting in joyful hope like alcohol, pop culture, and base commercialism. I was about to feel really grinchy except they had one for Jim Carry’s version of that story too…and I had to wonder if the Ghost of Christmas Future was worn out from the worries of 2020 and as such hadn’t paid a visit to someone who needed it.
Foolishness is the first way we pull ourselves into not hearing God, when we shut the doors, when we crowd out others. If you want an Advent Calendar, it should mark the beginning of Advent which is Sunday, November 28th.
If you’re looking for an excuse to eat chocolate, I submit, Halloween is around the corner.
If you’re looking to nurse your inner geek, there are better offerings for your money than this junk, inspired by people who love the genres these folks do not. They merely love that you love them. This is fusion capitalism, where people merge the love of the season and the love of a thing, for the love of a cash register. It’s as if someone wanted to sell a peanut flavored candy and created payday and expected you to buy it. Who does such a thing…well, it exists but we still don’t know why.
If you want an Advent Calendar, go to a Catholic Book Store Website to purchase it, or make an Advent tradition of adding one piece to your nativity set each day, with the last week adding Mary and Joseph, and on Christmas, Jesus and the angels. Move the three kings all around the house until the Feast of Epiphany. Add more angels then too.
You’ll find your Advent richer.
If you’re wondering when I’ll ever get back to the beautiful poetry I thought I was going to write…the algorithms after I vented my spleen, showed me a link to this…
The Pocket Guide to Reconciliation
Well played Algorithms. Well played.
Snark is fun in small does. The algorithms may work straight up but God works straight with crooked lines, even algorithms. We’re all both and…even the junky Advent sellers, and who knows, maybe they lead someone to Christ as surely as the star. We all are living out junky calendars to Christmas, easily distracted, easily lead to shiny things that aren’t God, and yet groping forward. Hoping and trusting we will, because God is always bigger than our imagination and yet intimately knowable if we seek.
I’ll get back to writing poetry after I schedule a confession.