CS Lewis on “Xmas and Christmas”CHARLES J. CHAPUT
Fifty years ago C.S. Lewis published an ironic little essay called, "Xmas and Christmas: A Lost Chapter from Herodotus."
It's worth reading, as we get deeper into Advent. I'll share with you just one passage.
"In the middle of winter when fogs and rains most abound, (the Niatirbians) have a great festival called Exmas, and for 50 days they prepare for it (in the manner which is called,) in their barbarian speech, the Exmas Rush.What Lewis wrote about in Britain half a century ago is increasingly true about our own country today. We're already half way through Advent. What have we done to really live it?
The world has an ingenious ability to attach itself to what Christians believe; tame it; subvert it — and then turn it against the very people who continue to believe. Too many Americans don't really celebrate Christmas. They may think they do, but they don't. They celebrate Exmas.
We need to understand that in many ways America is no longer a Christian culture. Of course, that can change. Many good Catholics and other Christians still live in it. But if people really understood and acted on the meaning of Advent, the world would be a different place.
Advent means "coming." What's coming in the reality of Christmas is an invasion. The world needs the invasion but doesn't want it. It's an invasion of human flesh and all creation by the Son of God; by the holiness of the Creator Himself.
All of us in the Church were baptized to be part of that good invasion. The doubts, the failures, the mistakes of the past don't matter. Only our choices now matter. How will we live our Christian faith from this day forward? How will we make our Catholic witness an icon of Christ's Advent?
For our own sake, and the sake of the people we love, we need to pray that our yearning for God will truly reflect God's yearning for us. And when it does, then the world will be a different place.
Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. "CS Lewis on 'Xmas and Christmas'." Denver Catholic Register (December 8, 2005).
This article reprinted with permission from Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.
Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., is the archbishop of Denver. He is the author of Living the Catholic Faith: Rediscovering the Basics.
Copyright © 2005 Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput
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