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Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

Christmas

Since I’ve been in Indianapolis, I’ve been visiting a Roman Catholic parish near my parents’ house for mass. The local Byzantine parish (one I went to for years) has had a new priest the last couple years, and he is one who always disturbs me whenever I hear one of his homilies. He was an older man who apparently made a lot of money in his youth, who, in his older age, decided he wanted to be a priest. He now preaches a charismatic-inspired “health and wealth” message which has no connection to the Byzantine tradition (and indeed, is one which I find quite dangerous). He says it worked for him, so it must be true, and if you are poor, or unhealthy, it is due to a lack of faith. In order to save myself the trouble and annoyance, I decided over a year ago that whenever I am in Indianapolis to use this time to visit a Roman parish (St Luke’s) and see what is going on there. This way I can also know better the kinds of things which are currently being done at a Western liturgy and have enough knowledge and experience with them to discuss them with my fellow Catholics.

For Christmas, I went to the first morning service on Christmas day, at eight in the morning. Because they already had several masses the day before, and it was so early in the morning, the parish was not as crowded as one might expect, and the service went by rather quickly (less than an hour). I could tell the priest was more than a little tired from all the festivities. The homily was nothing exceptional, but then again, I find that to be the case most of the time whenever I go to church. I do find those at St Gregory’s to be much better than most I heart, but they are still aimed for people with less study and understanding as one like myself (and rightfully so!).

Christmas dinner had my parents, my sister and her family, and my sister’s mother in law come together, before exchanging a few gifts among one another. My parents and I exchanged gifts amongst ourselves earlier, before everyone else had come (this makes it easier on my mom, since she then already has had some of the cleaning done beforehand). While they had already helped me with my laptop, my parents also got me a few other odds and ends: a couple books, a deck of Cherokee Indian playing cards, an odd collection of badges of churches in Russia (I am not sure when they were made or for what reason), and a small carrying case which can be used to carry books in. My nephew chose some tea and a Best Buy gift certificate for me. My sister got me some Christian card game and a gift certificate to Regal Cinemas (I was surprised by this, since we had decided earlier there was no need for us to exchange gifts, after last year when we practically gave each other the same gift!).

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It’s Christmas Time…

Thanksgiving has come and gone, providing for us “Christmas time in the city.” Stores are now open, trying to make people want all they have to sell, so that shopowners can have a big profit this “holiday season.” But no one is fooled: it is not about Christ, it is all about the love for money, and anything which can be done to make even a little more profit will be done.

Indeed, walking to Caribou for coffee this morning, I heard Christmas music being played outside the Blair shops. It’s now open season upon the shoppers; I expect to see all kinds of tough marketing this year, more than usual, because of the weakening value of the not-so-mighty dollar. I just hope I don’t get disgusted by the time it is all over.

Perhaps that’s why today we have now seen the great change in weather: cold temperatures are a welcome friend for cold hearts.

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Thanksgiving Day

I know I am going to get some heat for this, but Thanksgiving Day is a day which means little to nothing for me. I don’t know fully when I developed an aversion to it, but I have. People tell me I should take the day to contemplate myself and explain what it is that I am thankful for — but why today of all days? Why not everyday? To me, there is something so artificial to it all. Indeed, it feels as if secular society, noticing it lost something by its rejection of the traditional Catholic calendar of feasts, tried to make one day to make up for it.  Yet, it doesn’t get anywhere close to what we have lost. 

Perhaps one of the reasons I find myself having a dislike for the day is that I find Thanksgiving has taken on more importance and prominence in society than Christmas or Easter. How is that possible? Why have we made the day far more important to us as a society than the birth, death and resurrection of Christ? What does it tell us about ourselves? While Christmas continues to have a prominent role in our society, it is because it has become the grand celebration of consumerism, not because we care for Christ: and it is its consumerist side that alone will make its celebration mandatory until the end of the age, otherwise, I suspect, Christmas would be a thing of the past and forgotten save for a few of the faithful.

So I went out this morning to get my normal cup of coffee, and read a little from “The History of the Hobbit.” Caribou Coffee was quite calm; it was quite peaceful and restful there this morning, without all the normal business rush I see when I normally go there. Then I went to the grocery store, where business was a bit more than usual, because of all the people there rushing to get last minute items for Thanksgiving. I just wanted to get some groceries, since I was running low on what I had.

Walking to and from the stores, I enjoyed the beautiful, warm weather; we are told it will not last, and soon storms should be coming in with another cold front, bringing with them a drastic change of temperature, going from around 70 to 40 within a few hours. I just hope my arthritis doesn’t act up when this happens.

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