Christmas is meant to be a season of coming together. But it seems like every year, I see a greater and greater divide between people who consider themselves “true” Christmas believers and those who ebb with the cultural front-loaded side of the holiday.
I have noticed a lot of people unwilling to put up their Christmas tree through Advent. Then, they vehemently encourage others to do the same. Some families refuse to continue on the tradition of Santa Claus, all in the name of anti-commercialism.
I admire and understand the mission to keep the sacredness of the holy day. But we can’t get too focused on compartmentalizing “good Christmas” and “bad Christmas.” If we do, we’re missing some prime opportunities to invite people into the beauty of our faith.
It’s true, there’s a lot of sadness in the commercialization of Christmas. But there’s also a lot of joy.
As Catholic Christians, we can use that joy to invite people in!
All people at Christmas time—not just believers—have softer hearts, bigger hopes, and a willingness to believe in things they cannot see.
Let’s use these conventions of a secular holiday as a way to let people know that this joy isn’t exclusive to the Christmas season. The call to joy is a standing invitation from our Lord in everyday life.
Decorate, for goodness sake
Instead of waiting to put a Christmas tree up, put one up and don’t decorate it yet. Or decorate it in Advent colors.
Use it as a reminder of waiting, and an invitation to conversation.
When people ask why your tree is bare, or why your ornaments are only purple, share about the joy of waiting, and anticipating, instead of entering into a lengthy liturgical explanation.
When we shift the focus to what Advent is, instead of what Christmas isn’t, we already become more accessible to apprehensive believers.
Ask someone from your secular circles—like work or a dating app or friend group—what their favorite part of Christmas is. When they share, use it as a chance to share your favorite part about celebrating Christmas as a Catholic!
If you come across someone who says they don’t like Christmas at all, you may be able to share why you choose to focus on the liturgical part of the holiday.
Don’t feel bad
If you (like me) actually love every kind of Christmas, there’s no reason to feel like you’re less of a Catholic!
When we as representatives of the Body of Christ get excited about things like caroling and cookies and gift exchanges, it helps others to realize we’re not out of touch.
The greatest gift we can offer to the world is our authenticity.
God created us exactly as he wants us to be, so don’t underestimate the power of being yourself.
The Lord is a Lord of surprises, and it just may be that someone’s conversion begins with your obsessive love of the movie The Santa Clause.