The advent of two Christmases

The dust has settled on Christmas 2016 and, by now, I think we can all agree that the popular “commercial” version of the season – the one that starts after U.S. Thanksgiving – has little to do with Christ. What’s less often remarked is that this secularized Christmas has little to no prospect of reverting to its origins, at least not from a wide-scale societal perspective, unless we first change the way we celebrate the season and our approach to the issue. Rather than fighting the Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays war exclusively, let’s look at the opportunity we have to strengthen our own understanding and observation of Christmas, as well as those closest to us.


My hope lies in our ability to rediscover the fullness of the season – from the feast of Christ the King to the themes and prayers of Advent, to the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, the Solemnity of Mary, Epiphany and other high moments that mark this incredibly rich spiritual time of the year. This process of rediscovery, which is always life giving, passes through the Church – including Mass, confession, spiritual exercises, reading and, of course, giving of oneself through time, treasures and talents.


When that’s tended to, it’s pretty much automatic to want to pass on the natural supernatural high that will ensue to persons within our own orbits of influence, starting in our homes, then through social media networks and even in the choice of independent businesses we support and media we consume.

While the true meaning of Christmas is intentionally lost to the malls or biggest corporate players and brands in our world, it’s actually time we reduce our dependence on these proponents of excessive consumption anyway. Is there someone who would argue with that prescription? In my 20-plus years of consulting, I’ve seen the extent to which a large portion of these entities are animated by a love of Mammon. When we rely on them in excess, or naively believe in them, we do so to our own detriment.


Once we regain a depth of worship and the virtues/strength that comes with it, others in our communities and circles may take notice. Who knows, before long we may even see some more Nativity scenes pop up in town.


The Toronto Christmas Market, one of the world’s most celebrated Christmas markets,

welcomes hundreds of thousands of tourists each year who happily and willingly choose

to mark the season with food, drink, romantic strolls and…shopping.