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Catechism report (part one): Advent

I'm breaking this up into two bits. This is just a quick review of the lecture portion of class last night. We also watched another amazing and thought provoking video by Father Hines, which I will post about maybe tomorrow.

I had heard of Advent, but honestly had no clue what it was about, so as we are now in the Season of Advent I'm glad that was this week's topic. She said that over the years Advent has had different perspectives. (She made a point to use “perspectives” and not “meanings” with the idea that the meaning of the season has not changed, just the way we understand that meaning.) In the past, Advent was a time of penitence similar to Lent, but over time it changed more to a time of joyful waiting. Still, you are supposed to be reflective and use this period as a time to get right with God before his birth so that you’ll be in a better place for receiving him when he comes. (That’s why Purple, the color for penance, is still the color of Advent.) During Advent we present day await the second coming of Christ and, even though it happened in the past, we retroactively await the birth of Christ. So we kind of exist outside of time. I find this concept fascinating and just plain cool.

Other than that, she didn’t say much! Most of the class was the video. I did have a clicky-click moment when she was trying to explain “penance” to a young man in the class. She said it was kind of like getting and staying right with God and suddenly my mind flashed to Weight Watchers. It’s been a struggle for me to get and stay right with healthy nutrition. I have made sacrifices and I have backslid. Also, it’s a commitment I have made for life (I hope! It’s a daily struggle…) and I made that commitment in order to have a longer and better life. It struck me that this whole WW gig is just a physical representation of the spiritual idea of penance. If I can do WW for my physical body, then I can do this for my soul.


Someone in the back of the class mentioned being upset by the modern phrase “Happy Holidays” and by the use of “Xmas.” I steeled myself. Then our lecturer went on a tangent about the phrase “Happy Holidays” being around since at least the early 1900’s if not before. She said it was created to incorporate the holidays between Thanksgiving and New Years, and she referred to old Christmas cards her parents had kept (because they like the picture or the personal messages) that contained the phrase. She stressed the phrase was in no way “modern” and was perfectly acceptable for Christians to use the phrase. Perhaps today people are putting a different spin on the meaning, but there is nothing wrong with the phrase. Then she went on to explain that “X” is an abbreviation for Christ that has been around for centuries, blah blah blah and anyone who tries to say using Xmas is taking Christ out of Christmas doesn’t know what they are talking about. It may be a popular bandwagon to jump on right now, but it’s wrong. So if you hear anyone complaining about it you can either choose to enlighten them (but you’ll probably start a fight) or choose to ignore their rant being secure in your own knowledge. I heard the guy in the back say something like, “oh, I didn’t know that, okay.” Ha!

Also, I thought this was sweet. She tried to start with a prayer but forgot the words, so others in class jumped in as they tried to pull it out of their collective memories. That was awesome, because it was a perfect example that it’s okay to make mistakes when praying. God doesn’t care; therefore, people shouldn’t either. It also showed me how helpful and encouraging everyone is; they really are there to support each other and do not judge each other.

Okay, that's it for now. It's raining. I love the sound of raindrops! I need a rain icon.

OH and I made some nativity icons. They aren't great, but they aren't terrible.
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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
sarahtoalaska
Dec. 11th, 2008 12:48 am (UTC)
That is something that bothers me. I say Happy Holidays because I don't know What the people are I'm talking to. Christians are not the only people with claim to this season. SO unless it's actually Christmas I just say Happy Holidays. I think it's nicer to everyone. I've known about the whole Xmas thing for a long time and it makes me chuckle (and a little mad) when people start complaining about the whole.. taking Christ out of Christmas. It's just people jumping onto the bandwagon without knowing what they are talking about. I don't necessarily take offense when someone says Merry Christmas. I know in most cases they mean the very best by it. I just wish I felt free to say "Happy Yule" without being attacked.

Although it's no longer my thing... I always felt that God just wanted you speaking to him. He didn't mind if you messed up a prayer... or even if it was a regular prayer. If he loves us enough to create us, he loves us for our mistakes when our heart and soul is in the right place. For what a pagans words on the subject mean.
madladyred
Dec. 11th, 2008 01:37 am (UTC)
Yeah, i like the inclusiveness of Happy Holidays. I had some of Jewish penpals at one point, and i knew all the Christmas canceled mail stamps the post office uses (and just the general lack of others being represented) bothered them. One year I put Chanukah stamps on my Christmas cards to sort of multi-represent.

We are having a door decorating competition at work. Our office is 100% Christian, but someone did a Chanukah door! It awesome! She's actually Catholic, but she said it was bothering her that no other religions were being represented. Beth and I were so excited, we asked to help contribute to the door, as well. I had thought about that when doing my door and was going to put Happy Holidays, but it's full of quotes from Beatles stuff (to match the Beatles theme). I had my heart set on Beatles. :)

Hey - my Christmas Card Newsletter wishes everyone a Happy Yule, too. I put that in there specifically cuz of you! :) I just hope that I actually get myself organized in time to send out my newsletters this year.
sarahtoalaska
Dec. 11th, 2008 01:42 am (UTC)
I have one jewish friend (Hillary) and I am always very aware of what wrapping paper and stuff I put on things for her. She's not very religious but I know it bothers her to hear and see Merry Christmas all the time.

That is awesome about your coworker!

When I worked at the cookie store I asked if I could make a Yule Cakie (Those large decorated cookies) She told me that she didn't think that was a good idea. I said.. "Ok, but Im not going to decorate any Christmas themed cookies" I got my Yule cookie and a few people were thrilled about it. All it was was a wreath and a Happy Yule. Nothing more.

Aww... thanks for representing me. :D It's always meant a lot to me how... supported you were of me.
madladyred
Dec. 11th, 2008 04:32 am (UTC)
LOOK! I made a Bumble icon!! (Sorry, I got distracted cuz I love him so.)

I was always honored to be included in your Yule celebration. :) And everything you ever told me about it sounded so reasonable and true. I am fascinated by Paganism. I need to learn more about it. I'm IRISH for heaven's sake - my ancestry is Pagan, I'm sure. Of course, from what I have read Yule is more Nordic/Germanic. Still, I think it's a part of me anyway.

I didn't know Hilary was Jewish, cool!
sarahtoalaska
Dec. 11th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
Yep.. Hillary is our token Jew. :D There was a huge Pagan base in Ireland. Well in almost everywhere if you go back long enough. You know if you ever have any questions I'll always answer them the best I can.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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