So, happy Catholic new year, y’all. I forgot to buy my wreath, as I do every single year; most likely I will do what I did two Advents ago, and put scissors in my purse and surreptitiously steal a few boughs off a campus pine tree to tie together and stick my candles in, because I am literally the worst Catholic who has ever lived! It’ll be great. Everything will smell of pine sap and property damage.

I blogged about Advent last year, but this year I plan to discuss it without using the words “Protestant tears” even once. The Advent season comes second only to Lent in my Liturgical Tradition Rankings List, because Advent doesn’t have the Triduum, but the whole thing is built on a similar principle: Jesus touching earth, in any form whatsoever, requires at least a month of serious preparation, a clerical costume change, and a tripling of the parish candle budget.

Advent is fucking great, though, and it’s really a well-kept secret– I think anyone who accuses Catholicism of being uncomfortably solemn can’t know we have an entire month of the year devoted to vibrating, edge-of-your-seat anticipatory happiness. We have a countdown clock, and I don’t even mean those cute little calendars (though we have all but built chocolate into the ritual), I’m talking the colored candles!! You know why the third one is pink?? Because the third Sunday of Advent is Gaudete Sunday, which translated from the Latin means AAAAH OH MY GOD OH MY GOD IT’S ALMOST CHRISTMAS I’M SO HAPPY LET’S ALL WEAR PINK Sunday. The priest wears pink (sorry, I meant ~rose~) and everything is draped in pink and nothing is in a minor key, ever. 

Today I went to church, and was very happy about the Advent preparations – they switched all the sung bits into chanted Latin and started shit right with The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns as recessional, and happened to pick the one Agnus Dei that’s in my range, so it’s going to be a good month. My church back home, Our Lady of Questionable Liturgical Musical Choices, has for the past few years been finagling every single sung response to fit the tune of O Come, O Come Emmanuel, which, after four weeks, leaves one hating the best Advent song of them all with deep and fervent passion, and I am pleased to find St. Thomas More University Parish not emulating this particular tradition.

Back home we do Advent pretty hardcore – we have a pretty brass wreath that gets set up on the living room table, and the candles get lit every evening. We have an Advent calendar that my great-grandmother made, to which German candy is always tied. We have multiple Nativity sets, each missing different pieces but none missing a Jesus – my dad has taken to setting them all up at once and adding whatever small knick-knacks we have on hand, Barbie dolls or tiny plastic dinosaurs or my brother’s anime keychains, because he figures things must get a little slow there, hanging out with the same sheep every year. Sometimes he arranges them like chess pieces, or into complicated battle formations. The Jesii are all added on Christmas Day, arranged neatly in a circle around the single manger intended to contain all four of them; our house cannot contain all the Jesus we impose upon it. I do not have wreath or nativity here yet, but my heart is full of joy nonetheless; Ecce Mundi Gaudium and all that shit!

So, happy Advent, bros! Know, as you go about your day, that a bunch of Catholics are pretty excited right now! It doesn’t show on our faces much, but on the inside, we’re very happy. Hum the following and think of us.


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