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Recent college graduate José Martinez attempts to get back to the true meaning of Advent and prepare properly for Christmas this year, living alternatively to the overwhelming consumerism surrounding him.

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December 26th, 2011

It’s Not Just Christmas

 
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Merry Christmas, Busted Halo readers! Now that Christmas has come and gone, we can look forward to those horrible Lexus commercials wrapping up, at least for another year. I hope next year, their advertising team realizes that they don’t have a recognizable jingle, so commercials like this and this and this and this don’t work. Also, I’m really ready for newscasters to stop opening seasonal segments with “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and…” or, even worse, “Looks like Santa stopped by a local elementary school today…” (Even though it’s nice that Santa dropped by.)

The relief you feel at being able to say “Merry Christmas” when Advent is over is akin to what you feel after Lent’s over and you can say “Alleluia!” (Or “Hallelujah,” if you’re Jeff Buckley or Rufus Wainwright or pretty much any artist because everyone covers that song.) Now we’re in the celebratory season, and why wouldn’t we be? God delivered a baby – in circumstances that even the most faithful of believers would call “fairly miraculous” and “otherwise impossible” – to the world so that God could fulfill on a promise of eternal life. After the reflective season of Advent, which is focused on difficult things like being present and being grateful and cultivating a greater awareness of what we already have, the temptation – at least for me – is to take the advice of Taio Cruz: throw my hands up in the air (sometimes), say “Heyo,” and let go of all those good but not-easy-to-maintain habits for which Advent is so conducive.

I know that’s not the way to do the Christmas season. But I won’t go too deeply into that, since this is a series about Advent. So I’ll just end with this: The reminder that I’m going to take with me as we begin this season and the new year is that it doesn’t really matter what season it is. A lot of people are reflective during Advent; a lot of people couldn’t care less about those kinds of thought processes. A lot of people are joyful and grateful during the Christmas season; a lot of people are sad and lonely and angry. It’s not the time of year or the season that should determine how we feel, because life’s not like that – highs and lows don’t wait to be seasonally appropriate. If there’s anything I’m going to take with me, it’s to be intentional about this life of mine, whether that means being grateful, celebrating or sitting down and working through something weighing down on my heart.

So Merry Christmas – and Advent Blessings, Happy Thanksgiving, Lenten Blessings, Happy Easter and Happy Ordinary Time. We call these seasons so that we set time aside to reflect on the importance of each one, but really – all of these seasons are present in each of our lives year-round. It’s just up to us to see it.

(My Christmas wish is that that last line wasn’t too clichéd.)

 
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The Author : José Martinez
José Martinez is a writer who works primarily for Southern California Public Radio, reporting on the South Los Angeles beat and focusing on issues of health and quality of life. He's a graduate of Loyola Marymount University and has a degree in theological studies. From the way he writes, it's clear he thinks he's funny. There are few things he loves more than California burritos, the way his dogs run into walls, and road trips. He'd like it if you tweet him.
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