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Op-Ed

Are ‘Advent Christmas’ and ‘ Advance Christmas’ identical with Christmas?

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By EMN Updated: Nov 18, 2014 10:39 pm
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Rev. Fr. George Rino
Cathedral Church, Kohima

[dropcap]C[/dropcap]hristmas, the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ is celebrated on 25th December every year all over the world. But we, the people in Nagaland are too advanced that our celebration of Christmas is also much earlier than the rest of the Christians around the world. So we start celebrating ‘Advance Christmas’ right from the beginning of December. Many of us love to go to our native villages for this big festival and so may miss the opportunity of having the Christmas celebration together with whom we lived and worked throughout the year. And so celebrating ‘Pre-Christmas get-together’ seems alright. But anticipating Christmas to any of the days in the month of the December seems too comical and not appropriate by terming it as ‘Advance Christmas’ or ‘Advent Christmas’. It is because the birthday of Jesus Christ cannot be changed or anticipated to suit our wishes or to our advantage, unless another Christ is born on such a day.Historically, the advent is the pre-Christmas season of the church’s liturgical year which begins on the Sunday nearest to the feast of Saint Andrew on November 30. The word “Advent” comes from the term adventus, which means, “coming”. The season of advent is observed much before 500 AD by the Christians as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas. The period of ‘Advent’ is four weeks of preparation before Christmas observed by the Church to remind the faithful to prepare well in order to celebrate Christmas meaningfully. It is a time of abstaining, fasting and prayer. It is a time of intense preparation and eager waiting. Hence, traditionally even marriages and other big celebrations were not encouraged to be held during this season except on unavoidable cases.
But most of us have been getting used to the practice of eating meat and feasting in different names of ‘Christmas’, as if we are doing rehearsal for Christmas celebration following the old good saying, ‘Practice makes a man perfect’ to make our Christmas perfect. And to support our practices, we have coined new terms such as ‘Advance Christmas’ or ‘Advent Christmas’, misusing their original and intended meanings of these words.
This is neither a vision revelation nor a prophesy but just my personal reflection. Since majority of us are Christians, Satan will never want us to prepare well spiritually to let the Christ be born in our hearts. My question is; Has the tricky devil confused us all with feasting and celebrations to keep us so very busy to make our real Christmas a ‘Christ-less-mass’ or ‘Christ-less celebration’? If we do not prepare our hearts, we won’t be different from the people of Jesus’ time who did not give place for Jesus to be born in their homes and inns (Lk. 2:7).
The month of November is swiftly slipping away from our calendars and the festive month of December is soon approaching. But we have turned this joyous and sacred month into a purely social event. The result of that we see in the past was, slaughtering number of animals for our celebrations, drinking, fighting, shouting and causing public nuisance. Besides, many hotels, clubs, street corners and deserted places were turned into places of devilish activities. If this repeats, the festive seasons will be the most dangerous days for our souls in the land which is known as “Nagaland for Christ”. My prayer and wish for our people is; May this season be a grace-filled occasion by refraining from the devilish acts! Then we will see the presence of Child Jesus in our celebrations.

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By EMN Updated: Nov 18, 2014 10:39:35 pm