Christmas Can’t Come Before Advent, by Phil Lawler

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November 22, 2019
Prayer in English, by David Warren
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Saint Peters square at the Vatican is one of the prettiest places to be during Christmas in Rome

By Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, Nov. 21, 2019

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

My heart sank this morning when I saw that the Christmas tree was set up in St. Peter’s Square today. We’re still ten days away from Advent!

Every year the Christmas decorations go up earlier, all around us. The “Xmas sales” begin right before Thanksgiving, and the office “Xmas parties” soon thereafter. Then all the decorations come down and the celebrations end at about noon on December 25.

For those of us battling to preserve the full “twelve days of Christmas,” and to observe the anticipatory season of Advent, the struggle is tougher every year. But I thought at least we could count on the Vatican as an ally as we resisted the pressure to commercialize the feast and move everything forward. Apparently not.

When Pope John Paul II introduced the tradition of placing a Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square, the giant fir would arrive sometime near the middle of Advent, and would be lit a few days before Christmas. In 2015 the tree was set up early, on December 8, to coincide with the opening of a Jubilee Year. The next year it arrived still earlier, on November 25. Now the trend continues. ….


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