The social media war is well underway and people have taken their sides. Are you a Christmas hater or have you been listening to Yuletide Carols since October?
As a Catholic, the debates can be even more heated. Liturgical Lucy is apt to remind you that "Christmas doesn't start until Christmas Eve Mass ya dummy!!"
So what are we to do? Wait until December 23rd to get our Christmas trees? Opt for the latter if you want a tree with no needles. Or if you're prepared to make the switch to a fake tree. *The horror*
I think the answer is quite simple and actually found in the liturgical calendar. It's called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete (Latin for "rejoice") is the third Sunday of Advent (this year landing on December 16th). It is so called because the liturgical mood changes from awaiting the Lord who is still to come to rejoicing at his being so near. It's the Church saying "We're almoooost there!"
That doesn't quite solve the naked Christmas tree problem though. December 16th is still pretty late considering I saw my first gagged and bagged Christmas tree flying down I-35 almost two weeks ago. Consider buying the tree but waiting to decorate it until December 16th. Or decorate it with lights only and wait to put on ornaments.
Growing up, we'd get out the Advent wreath and stockings as soon as Father dug out the purple vestments (mom liked to celebrate St. Nicholas Day with chocolate coins in our stockings). The rest of the decorations came out later.
I'm not telling you what to do, but if you're like me, struggling to balance consumer America's "Christmas is right now" with the Church's "Christmas is on Christmas", I think Gaudete Sunday may be the beautiful "meeting in the middle".
Merry Christmas! ...sort of...
Katie Patrizio is a Catholic speaker, teacher, and popular radio guest. She resides in Des Moines, Iowa.