.- As the Catholic Church approaches the second half of Advent, and with it, the coming of Christmas, Denverâs Archbishop Charles Chaput is asking whether or not American culture really has room for Christâ¦or simply a secular construct of His birthday.
He begins his column, printed in Wednesdayâs Denver Catholic Register, by citing a 1955 essay by author and Christian apologist, C.S. Lewis, whoâs Chronicles of Narnia are slated to hit movie theaters this week.
Lewis wrote of the particular holiday customs of the fictional nation, Niatirb (his home country of Britain spelled backward), which simultaneously celebrates both the winter festivals of âExmasâ and âCrissmas.â
During Exmas, Lewis writes, the people âlie in bed till noonâ, exhausted from their preparations, âBut in the eveningâ¦eat five times as much as on other days,â crown âthemselves with crowns of paperâ and âbecome intoxicated.â
âOn the day after Exmas,â he says, âthey are very grave, being internally disordered by the supper and the drinking and the reckoning of how much they have spent on gifts and on the wine.â
The far less prominent celebrators of Crissmas, on the other hand, ârise early on that day with shining faces and go before sunrise to certain temples where they partake of a sacred feast.â
Archbishop Chaput sees Lewisâ parable as an apt allegory for modern culture.
âThe worldâ he said, âleft to its own devices---has no room and no use for the birth of Jesus Christ. It has contempt for Christians who seriously strive to be His disciples.â
He said that âthe world has an ingenious ability to attach itself to what Christians believe; tame it; subvert it â and then turn it against the very people who continue to believe.â
âToo many Americansâ the Archbishop pointed out, âdonât really celebrate Christmas. They may think they do, but they donât. They celebrate Exmas.â
He challenged the faithful to spend the remaining time of Advent âtithingâ our time to God, sitting quietly with Him, and allowing âHim to fill our actions and our choices with His Sonâ¦let Him shape us into the men and women He needs.â
He also lamented that in many ways, âAmerica is no longer a Christian culture.â
He stressed that this fact can change, pointing to the âmany good Catholics and other Christians [who] still live in it.â âBut if people really understoodâ, he said, âand acted on the meaning of Advent, the world would be a different place.â
Advent, the Archbishop pointed out means âcoming.â âWhatâs comingâ, he said, âin the reality of Christmas is an invasion. The world needs the invasion but doesnât want it. Itâs an invasion of human flesh and all creation by the Son of God; by the holiness of the Creator Himself.â