Radio Show

Decorating on Christmas


In this podcast, Father Dave answers a question from a caller named Melanie about decorating during Advent. Melanie explains that she and her family do not decorate during the Advent season. Rather, they decorate on Christmas Day. She asks Father Dave, “What’s your take on it?”

Father Dave explains that after Vatican II, Advent is no longer a penitential season; it’s a season of anticipation and waiting: “At the revision of the rites of the Mass at the Second Vatican Council, the Fathers of the Church, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said it really is much more about the anticipation, the waiting, and longing.”

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Father Dave encourages family traditions, and explains to Melanie that there is nothing wrong with the timing in which she chooses to decorate, but doesn’t discourage others from decorating during the Advent season: “I agree that we in Church should stand for the anticipation and the meaning of Advent, but I am certainly not going to be a stickler and say don’t put up a red bow until the 24th or 25th.”

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Father Dave also points out that we’re succumbing to pressures from a commercialized world, which pushes us to decorate prematurely. Father Dave suggests December 17 as a happy medium for those who don’t want to decorate too early or too late: “If somebody is looking for a happy medium, I suggest the pre-octave of Christmas; that is, the time of the O Antiphon. Starting on the 17th of December, all the way up until the 24th. Liturgically, with the prayer we pray in the Liturgy of the Hours, the tone changes. And you will notice in the readings, we move from the beginning of Advent where it’s the end of time and anticipating the ultimate coming of Christ, and we shift to literally telling virgin birth stories. The Church herself is making that transition gradually.” (Original Air 12-21-16)