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Hallo again to all.

Hallowe'en is over, as are the Feasts of All Saints', All Souls'—even the transferences of the middle. We are, therefore, in the Christmas season, at least if the decorations surrounding us daily are any indication. Pay no mind to Armistice/Remembrance Day, Thanksgiving (US), Culture Day (Japan), Descending Day of the Lord Bhudda (Bhutan) or the 15 nations+* which celebrate their Independence or National Day in November. Think neither of St. Nicholas Day, Immaculate Conception, Reconciliation Day (South Africa) nor Festivus. Advent doesn't crack the list.

We try not to be hostile: 'Keep the Christ in Christmas' bumper stickers do not adorn our car nor do we race to set up our Christmas tree the evening of Advent IV, leaving our home a 'Christmas-free till the 24th' zone. We'd prefer Christmas stay where it should be on the calendar, and our appreciation for Advent is well noted

Rather, we acknowledge that the Christmas decorations are beginning to adorn many towns and squares, and postings for Christmas Bazaars hang from lampposts. Our day job has required us to solicit art for the annual Christmas card now that it may be ready for printing, and then mailing, to be received before 25 December, and we admit to having joined the Reddit International Christmas Gift Exchange.

The Pub wherein we write this letter remains blessedly bedecked in autumn-themed trimmings (the season in the hemisphere from where this is written) delightfully accenting the medium-brown, wood-paneled walls. There is a quiet murmur, occasionally interrupted by eruptions of cheers by those watching whatever sport competitions are being aired. We also feel a brisk, cool, though not cold, breeze coming in from the door.

Of course, merchants of all stripes and sizes have ample reason to begin the lead up to Christmas as a secular holiday in the Western world. Budgets have to be made, bills paid, and sometimes, even workers.  A radio broadcast asked listeners to 'call in' as to whether Christmas music and Christmas decorations so early made the actual 'season' less special. There was, of course, disagreement. Yet, in the last 348 words, we have typed the word 'Christ' twelve times. That's a lot of thought about Christ.

If every time we walk into a market or grocery, we are all reminded of Christ (rather than just a few weeks before Christmas, and then again the few weeks before Easter), perhaps this is not the worst of all things.  Why do we insist on separating the secular Christmas from the religious festival? Though the consumerism is a bit nauseating and the music may start to grate after a few months, maybe Lewis's Hecataeus† was too quick to separate Exmas from Chrissmas. Indeed, we do seem to spend eight weeks saying Christmas, Christ-mas, Christ Mass.

Earlier this week we heard the names of our Beloved Departed recited along with those of many others, and prayed for in hopes of the resurrection. Just as naming Christmas reminds us of Christ, so too did hearing the names of our parish's departed saints remind us of the great cloud of witnesses. For all the temptation to feel that holiday seasons come too early, get dragged on too long, and are diluted for their length, we think that this is a fine year to take the daily remembrances as a source of gladness, rather than annoyance.


See you next week, when it will still not yet be Advent.

Our Signatures

All of us at Anglicans Online

6 November 2016

*These include but are not limited to: Antigua and Barbuda, Angola, Dominicana, Ecuador, Panama, Angola, Poland, Oman, Latvia, Morocco, Lebanon, Suriname, Albania, Mauritania, Barbados, and Yemen.

†This references Lewis, C.S. Xmas and Christmas: A Lost Chapter from Herodotus. From God in the Dock, 1970.

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