Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Christmas Lights Are My Downfall

Those who know me know I’m a liturgical Nazi, especially when it comes to Christmas. Christmas music before Advent? Bah, humbug! As I frequently remind people, Christmas starts on Christmas Eve (with the beginning of Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings College Cambridge if you wish to know the exact hour) and doesn’t end until Epiphany. When I sing the Twelve Days of Christmas, I mean it! I mock at those who celebrate Christmas before its time. I mock them as they sing their Christmas Carols when it’s not yet Christmas. And I merrily mock them with my proper celebration of the real Christmas season when they are sick of it all with their premature debauched celebration of faux X-mas.

Last year, I didn’t even allow myself to play my glorious English choral Christmas carol CDs until right before Christmas. For Advent is the time for Advent carols. And when doing my Advent lector duties, I don’t dare wear red or green like the ignorant. I proudly wear Advent blue, as the Lord intends.

But this year . . . this year, something’s wrong. First, I noticed I was getting into a Christmasy mood in mid-November. I considered that strange but didn’t think much of it. But then, then there were those Christmas lights. After a couple friends helped me put up my Christmas lights, I actually turned them on . . . and kept them on. Oh, I did it to test them out and so those who helped me with my lights could enjoy them. That was my excuse.

But then Sunday evening, I gave in to the urge to turn them on again. I thought, Hey it’s Christ the King Sunday, that’s worth turning on some lights, right? – as if the Lord wouldn’t see right through that dissembling.

Then Monday night . . . I turned them on again. Hey, it was St. Clements Day. Isn’t that good enough reason? Isn’t it?

But tonight, my liturgical calendar is blank. It's just the green of ordinary time mocking me. What will I do? I will stand firm tonight. No lights for me! . . . Yeah, right. I’ll probably drink my Winter Warmer and give in to my weakness and turn on the lights again.

And it’s not even Advent yet.

How weak I have suddenly become. I am so ashamed.


John J. O'Sullivan™ said...

I keep my lights up all year. But, then again, they're only on our balcony rail and they're white. You can turn them on during the summer and it works.

I'm right there with you. I'm a Liturgical Nazi of the first degree and I cannot help but love Christmas lights—whenever I see them.

Also, if you think that you're being ostentatious, check this guy out. This is an actual house in Mahwah, NJ. We make an annual pilgrimage as soon as he's done putting the lights up.


Jill C. said...

I am usually pretty adamant about observing Advent . . . then Christmas. (Blue lights if you must decorate before Christmas Eve, no Christmas music unless you are in the choir and have to rehearse it for Midnight Mass, etc.) However, this year I've felt the need for a wee bit of Christmas music cheer. I've indulged in listening to a new CD of Celtic harp carols. (Gasp!) It may be the economy, or the grief caused by difficulties in the parish, or it could be due to the fact that I kept one small creche up (on my piano) since last Christmas AND the Christmas cards from last year are still in their holder hanging from the closet doorknob. (Never did that before.) Shame on me!

Christopher Johnson said...

I'm not dogmatic in this area. I can and sometimes do listen to the right Christmas music any day in the year. If Pavarotti's "O Holy Night" doesn't move you as much in July as it does in December, you are way too much of a traditionalist.

By the way, if you want some kick-ass Advent music, Kathleen Lundquist, a frequent commenter at my joint, has an album out that will blow you away. Second one down.