We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, He draws us to Himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Bishop Lopes: A Pledged Troth. A pastoral letter on Amoris Laetitia.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Tacky Tinsel and Plastic Trees

It's pre-Christmas! It's Advent, but the appearance of digital Christmas lights and tacky seasonal muzak tends to overshadow Advent.

In a way, the season began appropriately enough. There's something appropriately apocalyptic—lower case "a", of course—in what has come to be known as "Black Friday". The news reports of uncivilized behaviour by shoppers are by no means biblical signs of the apocalypse, though to those seriously injured by roughhousing, beaten down by zealous shoppers poised to purchase or purloin some highly prized item, a personal apocalypse might be in effect during a recovery from having been assaulted by another shopper.

It's a curious time in our apartment complex, a complex consisting of some five buildings housing well over 2000 people. Gradually, the Christmas lights begin to appear around windows and balconies. How many apartments will be decorated with lights this year?

Apartment dwellers here, like most places, come and go. A few of us "lifers" notice the changes from year to year. Will there be more or less displays this year? The first to turn on the lights this year is that same someone living in a condo that rises above the other buildings. They, whoever they are, usually have a dignified set of lights prominently displayed. If you're anything like me, it's easier to simply leave the lights up around the balcony sliding doors all year long and plug them in when appropriate.

Christmas lights in our neck of the woods have become something of a statement of faith. Sure, there are the crass mega-displays that keep BC Hydro profitable. Even though such displays are likely more reflective of mega-egos, at least the displays say Christmas is approaching, even if there is practically nothing about a display that has anything to do with Christmas.

The politically correct police still try to neuter any celebration of the approach Christmas in the public square: "Seasons Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" replace "Merry Christmas" signs. Ah, Moscow in the 1950s!

Yes, it's time to drag out the tacky tinsel and plastic trees that fit nicely on some end table. No one is allowed to have real a tree in our building, or any of the buildings managed by the company that oversees the complex. A real tree would be a fire hazard, we're told. So, a clever veneer must suffice. (Some do managed to sneak in a real tree under cover of darkness. I've seen them do that, and quietly applaud their stealth. No fires thus far.)

The Christmas lights are popping on as this blogger types. The lights wink gently in the cold night, until about 11pm or thereabouts. The lights let you know you have a neighbour. Neighbours; but, not really neighbours.

Happy Cyber-Monday.

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