December 01, 2007



The world likes to get hyped about Christmas coming. Hyped liked a dog at the sight and smell (smell especially, for most dogs) of an endless supply of fresh meat. Hyped like that little guy in Over the Hedge who dashes around at blinding speed and can hardly settle himself enough to say anything important. In fact, that's just the problem with getting hyped.

A few gifted souls out there look, see and think best when they're worked up. The rest of us, not so much so. True, we get things done better while worked up. Meaning, though, usually has to be taken for granted in such states.

So when Red Cardigan at And Sometimes Tea posted on the whole "Holiday" thing, I knew I would be linking it about today.

Red Cardigan points out that not only is the world refusing to acknowledge the meaning of Christmas, but we as Christians and especially Catholics are losing our traditional period of preparation to look at that meaning.


If something meaningful is coming, say a wedding, you want to prepare for it. However, you want to prepare for it in far more important ways than just having the decorations up. If someone gets too stressed with those surface preparations to be prepared internally, say when a wedding is coming up, we alway remind them to step back, stop worrying the cake will be perfect and let themselves just think about that which the cake is for.

Let's not just try to retake Christmas. Let's retake Advent. If we retake Christmas from those who don't want to mention its name, that's great. If we don't have our fair chance to actually sit back and think about Christmas' meaning, it doesn't matter. Let's retake that time, those three to four weeks, for doing just that.

Now for an artistic defense.

NOTE: Please read this before continuing.

Beauty is that which according to its nature is directed towards pleasing. Is it better to have pleasure or to be pleased? Well, if one has pleasure but is displeased, one isn't happy. If one is pleased even without pleasure, one is fairly happy. So then, it shouldn't matter whether we find it enjoyable to do something as much as it matters whether that something is beautiful.

Now, which is more beautiful: the "Holiday" rush for superficial things or the serenity of sitting back and thinking about the meaning?



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Blogger Immortal Philosopher said...

I think I see what your saying, preparation for christmas is more than just getting ready to have family over. I understand this perfectly because I live in a house with a (relatively...four kids) large family and getting ready for company is always a rush and bustle. It alsmost seems sometimes that having a clean house is more important than the people we are cleaning for. Almost, but not quite.

This is very well reflected in a very good book - The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis. A mother gets so wrapped up in the grief over the death of her son that she stops loving her son for who he was and begins to love the grieving itself. In the same way, my mom (nothing against her) sprints around cleaning every nook and cranny where no one will ever see. She's not at all in the wrong, my mom's doing her work well out of charity - but there is a fine line that seems to be crossed a lot, where the preparation itself is made the purpose. Like in all things, the intention is key.

December 02, 2007 3:48 PM  
Blogger Immortal Philosopher said...

Yay, another comment.

Beauty is not that which pleases. Beauty is that which changes. The leaves in fall are not beautiful because they please us - I can be pleased by an ice cream cone but that's not beautiful. Beauty is that which has a quality that demands a response in the beholder, a response that, if properly felt, gives new light to the beholder. Thus "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is inherently false, as a thing is beautiful even if the audience is too coarse to realize it. Whether the response is made or note, the beautiful thing still demands the same response.


December 06, 2007 11:23 AM  
Blogger Shakespeare's Cobbler said...

Let's start with the inclusion of the phrase "when seen", which differentiates it from pleasing by having. Then let's add that whether something is pleasing depends first and foremost not on taste but nature, and your comment would appear to flow from that itself.

December 06, 2007 11:59 AM  

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