Halloween was not even over yet, the Christmas stockings are now on sale. Just a minute, wait until we bury back the dead, the ghosts to return to ghost town and bring out the ghost of Christmas past on Christmas day, not on October 31st.
Recently, a group of little green people accosted me insisting that Santa Claus is already in town. Yah? Really? And where he could be, I asked. They responded in chorus line: Richmond Mall! Hah, there you are, it’s all about going to the mall to entice me in spending money that I don’t have. They even bribed me with candy canes and a button that says “I believe.” No thanks, I still have yet to finish all the Halloween candies.
Passing by Metro Town Mall, look who’s there? Santa Claus. There’s no need for me to go to Richmond since Santa’s doppelganger is right here up my alley.
Seriously! Before Christmas starts, this whole idea will wear out thin. Come to think about it, the twelve day of Christmas does not start until December 25 and it ends on January 6. And real gift giving is on the first Sunday of the following year when the Three Kings arrive to bring the gift of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Hearing Celine Dion sing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” and Michael Buble’s rendition of “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” while I shop at Safeway makes me want to scream “Will somebody please turn off this music!” I can’t concentrate what to buy for dinner on a rainy day and to come home in an apartment without fire-place.
I must admit Vancouver features many areas where one can go to be in the groove for Christmas. The famous lights in St. Paul’s Hospital, the Christmas train at Stanley Park, the German Market at Queen Elizabeth, the dancing fountain at Van Dusen garden and the many homes that are fully decorated with Christmas lights.
And what do I really believe and celebrate during Christmas season? My answer is one word: Advent
What is Advent?
The word “Advent” comes from the Latin Adventus, which means “coming.” It is a time for quiet reflection, prayer and conversion in anticipation of the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The readings and the liturgies during Advent prepare us for the birth of Jesus, but they also prepare us for the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of the world. The season offers us the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert as we await his Second Coming. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. It ends at sundown on Christmas Eve. Since Christmas falls on different days of the week, Advent can range in duration from 22 days when Christmas falls on a Monday to 28 days when Christmas falls on a Sunday. Advent marks the beginning of the Church year. Unlike the secular year, which marks the passage of time, the liturgical year celebrates the sacred mysteries of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The year begins during Advent in anticipation of the coming of Jesus with reflections on the Hebrew prophecies and the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah.
Christmas is not a holiday. Please don’t greet me with Happy Holidays. Christmas is merry. I will joyfully greet you Merry Christmas. I’m sure I’m not alone to wish you a Merry Christmas and won’t the last.