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Ban reindeer, if you like. Abolish Santa Claus and Christmas trees. Keep your family wrapped in the starkest of Advent penances. Eradicate eggnog and candy, tinsel and presents, snowflakes and stockings. Exterminate the festival of it all, the nonsense of the season, if you must.

Lord knows, you have cause. Christmas has become, in the United States, the holiday — which is to say, the holy day — that dare not speak its name. We still have all the extraneous stuff that grew up around Christmas: the gift-giving and those awful Hallmark cards and the mistletoe and the holly. The Muzaked carols, for that matter. But the words of those carols seem to have become a problem for American culture, since — Joy to the world, the Lord is come! — they all too often contain information about the actual reason for the holiday. What is it, in these late modern times, that makes us see the glitter of the season while blinding ourselves to the gold that lies at its heart?

via The Catholic Carnival of Christmas | Daily News | NCRegister.com.

NCRegister | Recognizing ‘God With Us’ Even Now

If you view Advent as a time of purification, of evacuating the self to make room for Christ in you at Christmas, it will appear as “a little Lent.”

It would be likening Advent to the state of a desert, which is precisely the meaning of Lent as a desert experience. But Advent has a different and bigger meaning.

Advent is salvation history itself writ small. Its proper understanding demands refocusing on the meaning of Emmanuel — “God with us.”

Indeed, God has become man in Jesus Christ and is with us and continues to be with us. He has not gone “off to heaven,” leaving us alone in what can seem to be a desert.

Recall that the apostles returned from Olivet — the mount of the Ascension — rejoicing. Jesus continued to be with them invisibly in much the same way that he was with the two disciples — unrecognized — on the road to Emmaus.

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Pope’s childhood letter to Baby Jesus shows his faith :: EWTN News

A Christmas letter that Pope Benedict XVI wrote to Baby Jesus when he was seven years-old demonstrates his devotion to the Sacred Heart and his desire to be a priest.The letter is on display this Advent in the village of Marktl am Inn in Bavaria, where he was born.

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RORATE CÆLI: Ignorance of Christ

In Advent, time of expectation, it is interesting to read an almost unknown homily of Pope Paul VI, found only in Italian on the Vatican website. It was preached at a Roman parish on Passion Sunday, April 4, 1965. Excerpts follow:

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A Strange Thing Jesus Said to a Paralyzed Man – Another Insight from Pope Benedict’s New Book | Archdiocese of Washington

The Gospel from Monday the second week of Advent is the gospel of the paralyzed man who is lowered through the roof. It is presented to us in Advent because, among the many prophecies about the Messiah, would be that the lame would walk. But the Gospel also helps us to focus on Jesus’ central mission for us, and it is very provocatively expressed in this Gospel.

The Gospel passage contains a rather peculiar and somewhat awkward moment. Jesus looks at a paralyzed man and says to him, As for you, your sins are forgiven (Lk 5:20). What a strange thing to say to a paralyzed man.

The Pharisees and scribes of course are all worked up for other reasons, but their reason is not ours, we know that Jesus has the authority to forgive sins. Let us stay focused on the strange thing to say to a paralyzed man, your sins are forgiven you.

One of us modern folk might be tempted to tap Jesus on the shoulder and say, “Ah excuse me, Lord, this man is paralyzed, his problem is paralysis, that’s what he needs healing for.”

Of course Jesus is not blind or unintelligent, knows this. But looking at a paralyzed man he does not see the paralysis as his most serious problem. The man has a far more serious problem, his sin.

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Happy Holidays? Yeah, Right!

Editor’s Note: Each year around Christmastime we post a slightly updated version of the following personal Christmas reflection which offers an alternate custom to the celebration of the great Feast. I wrote it some years ago, and every year since I receive email from new visitors to this site gently chastising The Remnant for not posting it earlier in Advent so as to allow time for families to adopt as their own some of the customs herein suggested.

Over the years many Catholic families have adopted the old Christ Child tradition, believing it to be a beautiful means of restoring the true meaning of Christmas while strengthening Catholic identity in children. And it can be gradually implemented, of course.

Santa Claus (St. Nicholas), for example, can still be invited to visit the Catholic home on Christmas morning but in a dramatically reduced capacity, perhaps leaving a few stocking stuffers above the mantle and moving on.

As it was in Catholic homes throughout Christendom, Christmas must become all about the Christ Child once again. And a truly merry Christmas remains forever predicated on careful observance of Advent. No Christmas trees, no lights, no good things to eat until December 25, when the time of waiting comes to an end and all of Christendom rejoices at an event so magnificent even a two-year-old gets it. Christ is to be born—and the world, the flesh and the Devil will never change that reality, no matter how hard they try.

Happy Holidays? Yeah, right! It’s time to take Christmas back, and here’s one suggestion for how to do it, based on traditions as old as Christendom itself. MJM

Read this at Reclaiming Christ at Christmas

A Recipe for Readiness – A Meditation on the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent. | Archdiocese of Washington

As we begin the Advent Season, we are immediately drawn into its principle theme of preparation and readiness for the coming of the Lord. The first coming of the Lord has already been fulfilled at Bethlehem. And while we should prepare spiritually for the coming Christmas Feast, these first weeks of Advent bid us to focus even more on the Second Coming of the Lord in Glory.

Thus, as the curtains draw back on the opening scenes of Advent we are given warning from the Lord that he will come on the clouds with great power and glory and we must be prepared. Beware! He says, Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.

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Catholic music label to release nuns’ album for Advent

Catholic music label to release nuns’ album for Advent