What is paradosis? | bloghome | paradosis website | contact

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

[The Creation of the Chicken]

An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
<
[Consider Supporting]
[Our Farm]
[The Past]
05/01/2002 - 06/01/2002
06/01/2002 - 07/01/2002
07/01/2002 - 08/01/2002
08/01/2002 - 09/01/2002
09/01/2002 - 10/01/2002
10/01/2002 - 11/01/2002
11/01/2002 - 12/01/2002
12/01/2002 - 01/01/2003
01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003
02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003
03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003
04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003
05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003
06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003
07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003
08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003
09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003
10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003
11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003
12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004
01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004
02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004
03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006
09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006
12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007
02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007
03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007
04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007
05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007
06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007
07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007
08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007
09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007
10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007
11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007
12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008
01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008
02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008
03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008
04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008
05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008
06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008
07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008
08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008
09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008
10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008
11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008
12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009
01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009
02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009
03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009
04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009
05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009
06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009
07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009
08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009
09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009
10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009
11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009
12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010
01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010
02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010
03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010
04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010
05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010
08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010
09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010
10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010
03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011
04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011
05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011
06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011
10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011
11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011
12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012
02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012
03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012
04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012
05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012
06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012
08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012
02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013
04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013
07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013
11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013
02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014
03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014
07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014
[Orthodox America]
Antiochian Archdiocese
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese
Orthodox Church in America
Serbian Orthodox Church in America
Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church in America
[monasteries]
Valaam
Holy Myrrhbearers
Saint John
Saint Theodore
New Skete
Saint Herman
Saint Anthony, AZ
Balamand Monastery
[mercy]
Zoe for Life
In Communion
IOCC
Missions
[orthodox bloggers]
Notes from a Hillside Farm
Bishop Seraphim
This is Life
Fly in the Holy Oil
The Violent Munkee
The Blue Canopy
Sophia Says
Notes from a common place book
Pithless Thoughts
Photios
[I am a Rusyn]
[Slovakia]
[Kosovo]
[Mmmmmm]
[Where in the World?]
Locations of visitors to this page

Friday, November 13, 2009

How about a little Advent?

Advent

Many of us Christians wring our hands over the ongoing secularization and commercialization of Christmas. We write letters to the editors of our local papers, we wear T-shirts or bumper stickers declaring the real “reason for the season,” and we even contact our elected representatives. For some reason we think we can stem the tide of secularization by explicitly eliminating the process amidst our government, as if to suggest the government is the litmus test for our cultural-religious morality whether it be in the expression of huge government social programs or if the tree in the White House is referred to as a “Christmas” Tree or a “Holiday” Tree. I find myself weary of the process...to some degree it is just another front of the culture war that I used to be willing to fight but will not anymore. In fact, I will protest against that war by suggesting both sides invest too much in government and that if they would STOP doing that no one would care what President Obama chooses to call the tree in his White House. For all I care he can call it “Spanky the Light Conifer!”

But seriously, here's a thought for all of us Christians worried about the secularization and commercialization of Christmas: Don't secularize and commercialize YOUR Christmas. One simple (though not easy) way you can accomplish this is to participate in Advent and the traditional 12 days of Christmas. “Spanky the Light-Holiday” may begin On November 1st, but despite what you may be witnessing at the City Hall, the WalMart, or the Home Depot, Christmas doesn't actually begin until December 25th! I know that's hard to believe, but it's true. Additionally Christmas is not something that lasts a single day! It does not simply end after a furious unwrapping of gifts, a trash run for Dad, and a meal. It’s supposed to last for TWELVE DAYS! How cool is that! (Addendum: As Fr. C notes in the comments: for the Orthodox the Feast of Christmas lasts through the 31st of December, not up until Epiphany/Theophany as in the Western Church. So you westerners get 12, we get 7 days...figures!)

Advent, which begins shortly (November 15th for Orthodox Christians), has always in the past been a time for Christians to prepare - NOT by shopping or cooking but by personal discipline: fasting prayer, and almsgiving. Christians of all breeds, I think, need to return to this venerable tradition – especially if they bemoan what has become of Christmas in America.

Now, let me shut up, and leave you with these words from an unusual source. Maria Von Trapp, after she and her famous singing family escaped the Nazis and landed in America, was taken aback by the lack of Advent in America. I remind you that this would have been in the 1940's.

From “Around the Year with the Trapp Family:

The events that come to mind when we say "Christmas," "Easter," "Pentecost," are so tremendous that their commemoration cannot be celebrated in a single day each. Weeks are needed. First, weeks of preparation, of becoming attuned in body and soul, and then weeks of celebration. This goes back to an age when people still had time--time to live, time to enjoy. In our own day, we face the puzzling fact that the more time-saving gadgets we invent, the more new buttons to push in order to "save hours of work"--the less time we actually have. We have no more time to read books; we can only afford digests. We have no time to walk a quarter of a mile; we have to hop into a car. We have no time to make things by hand; we buy them ready made in the five-and-ten or in the supermarket. This atmosphere of "hurry up, let's go" does not provide the necessary leisure in which to anticipate and celebrate a feast. But as soon as people stop celebrating they really do not live any more--they are being lived, as it were. The alarming question arises: what is being done with all the time that is constantly being saved? We invent more machines and more gadgets, which will relieve us more and more from the work formerly done by our hands, our feet, our brain, and which will carry us in feverishly increasing speed--where? Perhaps to the moon and other planets, but more probably to our final destruction.

Only the Church throws light onto the gloomy prospects of modern man--Holy Mother Church--for she belongs, herself, to a realm that has its past and present in Time, but its future in the World Without End.

It was fall when we arrived in the United States. The first weeks passed rapidly, filled with new discoveries every day, and soon we came across a beautiful feast, which we had never celebrated before: Thanksgiving Day, an exclusively American feast. With great enthusiasm we included it in the calendar of our family feasts.

Who can describe our astonishment, however, when a few days after our first Thanksgiving Day we heard from a loudspeaker in a large department store the unmistakable melody of "Silent Night"! Upon our excited inquiry, someone said, rather surprised: "What is the matter? Nothing is the matter. Time for Christmas shopping!"

It took several Christmas seasons before we understood the connection between Christmas shopping and "Silent Night" and the other carols blaring from loudspeakers in these pre-Christmas weeks. And even now that we do understand, it still disturbs us greatly. These weeks before Christmas, known as the weeks of Advent, are meant to be spent in expectation and waiting. This is the season for Advent songs--those age-old hymns of longing and waiting; "Silent Night" should be sung for the first time on Christmas Eve. We found that hardly anybody knows any Advent songs. And we were startled by something else soon after Christmas, Christmas trees and decorations vanish from the show windows to be replaced by New Year's advertisements. On our concert trips across the country we also saw that the lighted Christmas trees disappear from homes and front yards and no one thinks to sing a carol as late as January 2nd. This was all very strange to us, for we were used to the old-world Christmas, which was altogether different but which we determined to celebrate now in our new country.


...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 12:56 PM [+]
+++
7 comments


7 Comments:

I absolutely agree with what you've written about pre-celebrating the feasts, but I have to disagree about the twelve days. Sure, this true on the traditional Western calendar. However, I keep hearing this from Orthodox Christians and it is confusing to me. In the Orthodox Church, the Feast of the Nativity ends on December 31, after which we begin the pre-feast of Theophany, which is different than the feast of the 3 Kings, which in the east is celebrated with the Nativity itself. There is no Eastern tradition of the Twelve Days and the twelfth night, etc. For us the twelfth day is a strict fast, hardly a day of celebration.

Fr. Christopher

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:06 PM  

________________________________________________________________

Thank you Father.
...there was a comment about this on the "Let's celebrate the 12 days of Christmas" facebook site. It's easy for us to think that the Feast of Christmas lasts up to Theophany.

As a side: Didn't Theophany and Christmas used to be one feast?

I personally like noting the 12 days of Christmas because so few today having any idea of where the term comes from and with the song being so popular...it's fun to enlighten folks.

But, I suppose now being enlightened, we Orthodox, don't get to go any further than "Swans a-swimming." Sorry kids..."no Maids-a-milking!"

:)

By Blogger JamesoftheNorthwest, at 3:35 PM  

________________________________________________________________

I'm not sure how many of us truly were raised with the Twelve days of Christmas, outside of hearing the song. I know I wasn't in any but the most superficial way, and that was in a devout Catholic family. I always knew that it was "still Christmas," but there were no special celebrations. If this isn't part of our experience/inheritance or our liturgical tradition, why adopt it? It has a cafeteria quality to me. Instead, I'd rather see a more thoughtful celebration of all the Great Feasts, rather than adopting customs that don't quite fit with our own Liturgical cycle. I've even heard of priests advocating the use of an advent wreath. To me, it makes no sense since our Nativity Fast is not Advent at all as found in the West. It's longer and has none of the theme Sundays that exist in the West. It seems to me that we should dig deeper into what we have rather than adopting the seemingly familiar.

Where are our songs and carols for other feasts? What customs do we have for those?

I think that we can just as easily fall into the trap of over celebrating Christmas, albeit in a more spiritual way.

Fr. Christopher

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:49 PM  

________________________________________________________________

Hey James, I just realized that my previous posts were drifting off topic. I know you weren't specifically advocating 12 days or advent wreaths. And, like I said earlier, I though it was good. I'm just working through some of my own thoughts on the subject. Feel free not to post any of them.

FrC

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:10 PM  

________________________________________________________________

Not at all Father...this is all very enlightening. I suppose for those of us grounded in NO tradition...we are just hungry for it. So knowing what has traditionally been done between Christmas-Theophany is really beneficial.

I see though that it is quite universally the tradition to NOT pre-celebrate Christmas! :)

By Blogger JamesoftheNorthwest, at 11:06 PM  

________________________________________________________________

It should probably be noted that if you add together the forefeast, the feast itself, and the afterfeast, we also get twelve days of Christmas, just a different twelve.

By Blogger Peter Gardner, at 11:08 AM  

________________________________________________________________

On a different note, since in the Orthodox practice we begin singing the Christmas katavasiae on November 21, I think Christmas carols before Christmas are not out of place. Being Romanian, I occasionally listen to Radio Trinitas (the radio station of the Patriarchate of Romania) , which calls this time 'the fifth season - the season of carols.'

Fr. Peter

By Blogger Virgil Petrisor, at 12:21 PM  

________________________________________________________________

Post a Comment




This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?