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Advent, Christmas and fireworks in Argentina

January 25, 2018

Advent and the Christmas season are an exciting time spiritually as well as emotionally. Jesuit goes through some physical changes around this time such as, Christmas trees in the lunchroom, the heat is cranked up in the classroom a bit as it cools outside and the Christmas sweaters (good or bad) are thrown on. Spiritually we have the blessing of the Advent Wreath and mass of the immaculate conception. The blessing of the Advent Wreath is what really sets off the Christmas season for many Christians at Jesuit and around the world. With that in mind I went and asked Mr.Shoup some questions about this time of year in catholic life and what it means for him:

Chad: “What are some of your favorite things in the Catholic Church that occur around this time of year that get you into the holiday spirit?”
Mr. Shoupe: “Penance and small sacrifices that make it more special and the daily rituals in mass and the scriptures make the celebration of Christmas that much better.”
Chad: “not that either is more important than the other but do you enjoy the Christmas or Easter season more?”
Mr. Shoup: “Tough question I enjoy lent and Easter more cause it is more dramatic and focuses on sacrifice; while Christmas is joyful and still special it has less gravity.”
Chad: “Are there any things that you think are misrepresented at Christmas time that you think should be stressed more?”
Mr. Shoup: “Advent is a lost art, and The commercialization of Christmas ends just after the actual holiday where as I think it should continue after and be more reverent during advent.”
Chad: “So you see Advent as a time to recognize the spiritual aspect and be reverent?”
Mr. Shoup: “Exactly, Christmas Day and the week or so after is the time to have more fun and really celebrate.”
Chad: “Thanks for talking with me today Mr. Shoup merry Christmas.”

Mr. Shoup really clarified the solemnity Advent holds and how the Christmas holiday should be experienced. What I never viewed Advent as was a time for penance which makes the celebration of Christmas so special so Mr. Shoup’s insight on that which may be able to help you make your own Christmas better. After interviewing Mr. Shoup I wanted to see what a Jesuit priest would say in the subject so I Interviewed Father Capuano:

Chad: “How do you feel about Christmas time, you being a Jesuit and having experienced this liturgical time all over the world in different ways?”
Father Capuano: “I am still in advent mode, I kick into Christmas mode around the 23rd. I am getting mentally and spiritually ready for Christmas and I am very busy this time of year.”
Chad: “what’s the most odd Christmas tradition you have witnessed?”
Father Capuano: “fireworks in Argentina, after saying mass in a barrio I was dodging firecrackers.”
Chad: “Of all the liturgical times is this your favorite?”
Father Capuano: “Each one is its own special time of year but I enjoy contemplating the incarnation.”

Mr. Shoup and Father Capuano both gave great interpretations and experiences of theirs during the Christmas season. Whether or not you favor another time of year over Christmas this is undeniably a great time to take in the aesthetics Christmas offers and try to see how special this time is in a spiritual sense while you’re at it. For all you Scrooges out there that see Christmas as a time that has been ruined by the commercialization of the time of year, are tired of cold weather and all the “snow birds” from up north who don’t know how to drive clogging the roads; try to be happy with your family and connect with the spirit of Christmas.

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