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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

the Light of the World

I am in a quandary
about our Christmas lights. In my Christmas mania, I always want to have the decorations up during the week before Christmas, especially the lights, so I can enjoy them as the holiday approaches.

This is, of course, exactly the wrong thing to do. What I want and what needs to happen are almost always at odds. I can handle it. I'm a nun.

It's fine for you and your children if you want to light your house like a UFO just landed for the entire month of December, but for me, a person who has a moral obligation to guide, I must restrain myself.

The whole point of having lights at all at Christmas time is because Jesus is the light of the world. And the whole point of having Christmas in December instead of the springtime when He was actually born is to show the Light coming back into the world.

The Church now believes that Jesus was born in the spring because the shepherds were out in the fields with their flocks. Rumor has it the shepherds don't do that in the winter. Also, people wouldn't have been asked to travel for a census in the winter. Unless they were trying to get rid of a few people so they wouldn't have to count so high.

And I don't think I'm telling you there is no Santa Claus when I mention that there was a big old pagan holiday that the early Christians glommed onto to keep the flock happy. The History Channel let fly with that little bomb years ago. It's okay. It was a stupendously good idea. Folding the pagan holiday into a Christian one brought us a lot of Christmas goodies like the tree and the yule log. It all worked out beautifully for everyone since the timing had the wonderful symbolic meaning of the shortest darkest days giving way to longer days again.

That was a smooth move.

So it is just wrong to put our Christmas lights on before the big day, which leaves me only a week of Christmas lights as I can't handle having the Christmas decorations around until the Epiphany. By then everything just looks so saggy, the opposite of what it all stands for.

Sister St. Aloysius and I keep up the manage scene, both at home and at the Church until the Magi arrive. We have to watch out that no one does anything to the Church Nativity scene. Every since I saw that episode of Dragnet where the Baby Jesus is stolen from the church and Joe Friday is so disgusted but it turns out it's a young Mexican boy who asked the Baby Jesus for a wagon for Christmas and got the wagon and took the Baby Jesus out for a ride, I have been nervous about people disturbing the manger scene. You don't know what people will do these days. I saw in the news just today that someone took the light up Baby Jesus out of an old man's front yard manger scene and replaced it with a beer can. Ho. Ho. Ho. How funny will it be when they are burning in Purgatory, I wonder?

Sister St. Aloysius does like to keep adding sheep the whole time at home. We can't do that in the church. The sheep are too big. Anyway it's very symbolic, but I think she just likes the sheep. After New Year's extra sheep are about all I can deal with.

I will have to content myself with driving around a bit at night to take in the lights. I especially enjoy those houses which are decorated to within an inch of their lives, a phenomena I call "wretched excess". My favorite are the people who go stark raving mad and put up an entire lit up manger scene AND the light up Nutcracker with a Santa on the roof AND Christmas stars AND snowmen AND anything else they could find on e-bay that has a light bulb inside it. With music. Don't tell Al Gore that they are over their Co2 limit or whatever that is.

I don't mind that some of it is 'secular'. Nothing is secular at Christmas. Why do we buy gifts? Because the shepherds and the wise men bought gifts. Why do we have a tree? Because it's an evergreen tree that shows that Jesus is always with us. The Nutcracker was a Christmas gift, a tradition that celebrates Jesus. Santa having a Coke is just a saint who enjoys a soft drink now and again. It's all good. With an angel on top.


Fouquette Racing said...

I love reading your blog! I love how you bring religion into my life every morning while I drink my coffee. And *bonus* you are funny.

Julia said...

I'm on Etsy too, my handle is Oleander. I saw the link on your profile and I've spent HOURS this morning reading your blog and it's absolutely delightful! At first, I was unsure of whether or not you really were a nun (mind you, I have NO experience with nuns, so please don't take offense). I had always imagined nuns to be lacking in pop culture knowledge and generally unfunny. You had me when you told your readers to look up 666 on the Google, on the internets.

In any case, I've decided that it doesn't matter if you are a nun. You are wonderful. You make people laugh, and make them think, and maybe teach them something in the process. Thank you -- your knowledge and humor is very much appreciated.

Merry Christmas!

Sister Mary Martha said...

Welcome to our little convent on the internets!

Kathleen said...

Re: Nativity scenes

My mom accumulates Nativity scenes. We have one from probably every country on Earth. Some are just Mary, Joseph and Jesus, but some are those massive ones that come with a barn, sheep, cows, ducks, Magi, and random extras such as shepherds. They're all over the house every Christmas. Even though it's a great reminder, it makes us look a little, well, obsessed. At least she keeps them all indoors.

Jan B said...

I subscribe to this blog via RSS feed and it doesn't show pictures on my feed reader. When I read the title I thought I would see a star over a manger or something. When I saw the decorated house I nearly spit out my coke. What a sense of humor you have. Keep writing, I love reading. And, have a blessed holiday.

duchessSoF said...

I stole the xmas cheer idea from you. Fixed my rose. +
You are so right Sister MM on Jesus being the LIGHT of the World!

Michelle said...

We hold off on the lights until Christmas too...but I'm so happy to have tons of neighbors who don't because they are so pretty to look at. The more over the top the better!

Carolina Cannonball said...

have you seen this story yet, Sr. ?


seeking_something said...

Hey, cool picture of yourself for the season! Oh, and yes, I do read your writings too. :)

amaupin0402 said...

i love the lights, and your little convent on the internets!

Drew said...

My brothers and I are decorating the house this Wednesday. We will put up the lights then and have a little wine. The tree is outside; I hope the neighbors do not steal it!

CMinor said...

It was a stupendously good idea. Folding the pagan holiday into a Christian one brought us a lot of Christmas goodies like the tree and the yule log. It all worked out beautifully for everyone since the timing had the wonderful symbolic meaning of the shortest darkest days giving way to longer days again.

Oooh, well said! I'll have to remember this for the next time I get the "pagan holiday" argument.

BTW, this may date me but I remember that Dragnet episode! It's just about my favorite.