Advent Reflection: Losing Christmas

I’m feeling old these days.  Watching shows like Jim Carrey’s “Grinch,” “Shrek the Halls,” even last night’s Michael Bublé Christmas Special, I was appalled over Hollywood’s growing preference for bright and flashy over well written and meaningful…not to mention that Christmas seems to be the new premier time to release dark movies.  None of this “entertainment”  includes even an inkling of the true meaning of Christmas, which past secular Christmas specials at least gave a nod to.  I fear a future where children grow up without a glimpse of what Christmas is all about, while the wondrous Christmas classics that present the message of Christ gather dust in thrift store CD racks.  I fear losing Christmas.

These thoughts have sprung from spending a small part of each day this past month meditating on Advent.  This season is especially rich when juxtaposed against the ever more secular culture that surrounds us.  The juxtaposition has made me much more aware of my responsibility to share with my family and friends the true meaning of Christmas—the fun aspects along with its beautiful and reverent message…to keep it alive as long as I’m alive.

Unlike some of the carols I love so much, which began as poems, one of my favorites started as a hymn written anonymously in the 16th century in Germany.  While the melody also dates to the late 16th Century, the English version we know today was translated from the original by Theodore Baker in 1894.  In case you have not heard it, there are a number of YouTube videos of this lovely carol: Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.  Meanwhile here are the lyrics for your own Advent reflection.

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
Mary we behold it, the Virgin Mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to us a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

The shepherds heard the story proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of glory was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped and in the manger they found Him,
As angel heralds said.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

May God richly bless us all this Christmas.

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