Culture of Waste: Thesis → Antithesis → Santhasis

Culture of Waste: Thesis → Antithesis → Santhasis December 25, 2014
Santa does to Jesus what he's done to Hegel here.
Santa does to Jesus what he gone done to Hegel here.

There’s a reason for the season, and Santa it ain’t. I can’t help suspecting that our children think Santa expired on the Christmas tree for their gifts. I’d like to blame them or myself (as some have already done), but there are more powerful trends at work here.

Relationship Status: It's complicated.
Relationship Status: It’s complicated.

The notion of competing cultural liturgies–as developed by James K.A. Smith in Imagining the Kingdom, William T. Cavanaugh in Migrations of the Holy, and Bruce Ellis Benson Liturgy as a Way of Life–is especially legible in everyday life during the Christmas season in the West.

The ubiquitous Santa liturgy (ads, Christmas decorations, TV shows, store fronts, etc) is there 24/7 whether you want it or not. It clearly has the upper hand over the Baby Jesus liturgy (mostly swaddled in the tight confines of churches).

The amount of exposure the former gets over the latter means God is devalued not only in the imaginations of children, but also adults.

The situation might seem like a reason for taking up the side of the cultural warriors who would have us put Christ back in Christmas.

But no!

This would only lead to a strange dialectic whereby Baby Jesus would merely replace Santa in the middle of the frenzied capitalist liturgy of the season.

Something of the sort can be readily observed in the writings of popular Catholic authors such as George Weigel or Michael Novak; for them exceptional American dynamism has usurped the wastefulness of Jesus and his Church.

Sorry to poop on your post-gift opening party!

We opened ours last night, so I only have a vague, fading gift hangover going for me.

Anyway, until the advent of an authentic culture of waste, this must be it:


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