Monday, December 24, 2012

The Answer to Christmas: Happy

"Why does Santa bring gifts to children on Christmas?"

This was the question that was the basis for a cartoon program I was watching with one of my boys the other day. The question took me a bit by surprise at first since this was a secular, non-religious show. But then as I watched the program I saw where the story line was going and it made sense.

Well, it made sense from a secular stand point. It holds an empty message from a Christian perspective.

I'll skip over the details, but basically the main characters in the show, a set of four kids, find Santa who tells them that he loves making and giving gifts to people. It makes him "happy." As it turns out the answer to the question from the beginning of the show is "Happy." So why does Santa bring children gifts on Christmas? It makes him happy.

Really? That's it?

I know I'm crazy for analyzing a children's cartoon, but here it goes anyway. First of all the "answer" doesn't really answer the question. "Why on Christmas?" is how I heard this question. Giving gifts (or anything nice and unexpected, for that matter) often makes the giver happy and the giftee happy (presumably). It feels good to give gifts. I don't want to belittle the message this show was trying to convey, it was a good message for kids. However, it still falls short.

Christmas is so much more than just giving gifts to our loved ones. As Christians we know this. We recognize this day as the day God gave the human race the greatest gift ever, the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. It's not just an arbitrary day to give gifts to make us all happy.

I don't expect a secular TV show to get into the religious purpose of Christmas, but it still left me a bit empty.

I guess my take away from this was that I'm glad to be a Christian and to recognize a higher purpose for Christmas. Specifically, I'm glad to be a Catholic where we follow a liturgical calendar that places Christmas into a logical place in the year along with all the other feast days and memorials in the Church.

It's too bad some TV programs go out of their way to try to do a Christmas show without bringing in the actual purpose for Christmas. It just leaves an empty feeling instead of the "happy" feeling they were going for.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Today on Catholic Sistas: Be Vigilant

I have a new post up today at Catholic Sistas. Once again I am using my background as a musician as a jumping off point in an attempt to make an analogy to the spiritual life. Here's a quick excerpt, see what you think:

Normally, I’m not a big fan of listening to Mass on the radio. Most of the time though I leave it on anyway and try to listen and get something out of the readings and the homily. Recently I left work early and when got in my car the mid-day Mass was just beginning. I almost turned the station but stopped instead as my ears listened carefully to the opening hymn being sung. I couldn't help but notice that as each verse was sung the tempo got slower and slower. By the end of the hymn it was dreadfully slow compared to where it had started.

As a musician I can tell you exactly why this happened. And it is very common. I bet we've all experienced it at some point. I've experienced this phenomenon at churches, in processions, in parades and on the football field (think marching band), and in large groups of singers with no leader to keep the tempo. Sound actually travels pretty slowly. It’s why you see the lightning before you hear the thunder (unless the storm is right over you). Without a leader or some sort of tempo-keeper singers and musicians start listening to each other. Because sound travels slowly, things start to slow down.

Go on over to Catholic Sistas to read the whole story.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Santa Encounter

Not too sure.

Scared of the big man with the beard and the gifts.

It might be in the box, but Ethan knows what it's supposed to do.

The boys with their new Thomas/Percy trains.
Thanks, Santa!