Below I’ve shared some quotes by Josef Pieper (who at times is actually referencing old Christian intellectual guys like Chrysostom and Augustine. Don’t worry, I’ve only met them recently, along with Herr Pieper, who knows more Latin than most of us interacting on this blog. I only reference the former guys because he does, too, and I believe people should receive proper credit for their words.)
I’ve also included some photos I’ve discovered while contemplating two other old Christian contemplatives who know more about the meaning of waiting and hoping than I do: Simeon and Anna. I hope you enjoy.
Festivity is joy and nothing else.
Now it is the nature of joy to be a secondary phenomenon. No one can rejoice, “absolutely,” for joy’s sake alone….But the reason for joy, although it may be encountered in a thousand concrete forms, is always the same: possessing or receiving what one loves, whether actually in the present, hoped for in the future, or remembered in the past. Joy is an expression of love.”
Memorial days are not in themselves festival days. Strictly speaking, the past cannot be celebrated unless the celebrant community still draws glory and exaltation from that past, not merely as reflected history, but by virtue of a historical reality still operative in the present. If the Incarnation of God is no longer understood as an event that directly concerns the present lives of men, it becomes impossible, even absurd, to celebrate Christmas festively.
Finally, I want to leave with a bonus photo that I came across recently. I realize that while some of the theology is spot on, other aspects may not be exactly accurate (Jesus crushed the serpent’s head, not Mary.), but I think the point is Christ fulfilling our hope–just as sin entered the world through one man (Adam), another man redeemed the world (Christ). Just as Hagar was a woman of bondage who birthed a son who could not fulfill the promise and Sarah was a free woman who birthed the son of the promise, so Eve was the mother of all living and the first woman to sin and Mary the mother of the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Alekseevich, Andrey Shishkin. “Simeon and Jesus.” http://www.artvedia.ru/pic/17622. Accessed 22 December 2017.
Bacik, Jerry. “Anna in the Temple.” http://www.womeninthebible.net/women-bible-old-new-testaments/anna/. Accessed 22 December 2017.
Remington, Grace. “Virgin Mary Consoles Eve.” http://abstractcathedral.com/2014/12/mary-comforts-eve-advent-meets-christmas/. Accessed 22 December 2017.
Pieper, Josef. In Tune with the World: A Theory in Festivity. Translated by Richard and Clara Winston. St. Augustine’s Press. 1965.
“Simeon and Anna: Presentation in the Temple.” http://www.tellthelordthankyou.com/blog/2014/10/6/luke-222-40-jesus-dedication-in-the-temple-according-to-the-law-of-moses-1. Accessed 22 December 2017.