Do you remember reading Clinton Kelly's little essay on Facebook about how we dress ourselves? It was after he was done filming What Not to Wear and it was such a fabulous little piece, coming from the heart of a very sincere and caring man. Below is an excerpt. You should follow the link to read the whole thing, but I want to be sure that you read at least this part because it's important for what I'm going to say.
"I don’t care what you wear. I really don’t. And I don’t care what you think of what I wear. I really don’t. I care what I wear. And I think you should care about what you wear.
Your style can make you happy, and even though I don’t know you, I’d like you to be happy, because as a human being, you deserve to be happy."
This year I'm seeing a little bit of backlash online, a response to all the posts on "how to do Advent" and "how to celebrate the feast days" and "how to live liturgically."
There's a lot of truth in these posts, and honestly they're things I've tried to stress repeatedly over the last few years:
- find what works for your family
- as the seasons of your life change so will what happens in your home
- don't feel like you have to do it all
Some of the posts seem to target bloggers like me, the ones who enjoy writing about what we do and why, showing lots of pictures along the way. I guess sometimes it doesn't matter if a person writes a big intro paragraph explaining, "When I was a new mom, figuring all this out, these kinds of posts were so helpful to me so here's what we do - take what you like and leave the rest, or leave it all! It's what works for us and we enjoy it!" In the end, a person can still feel overwhelmed by all the options and guilty about all that's not happening in their home.
And so, following the footsteps of Clinton Kelly, I want to tell you this:
I don't care what you do in your home to celebrate the holy days and seasons. I really don't. And I don't care what you think of what we do in our home. I really don't. I care about what we do. And I think you should care about what you do.
Making our homes domestic churches can make you happy - building a family culture and bringing meaning and joy to your every day life and faith - and even though I don't know you, I'd like you to be happy, because as a human being made in the image and likeness of God you deserve to be happy.
I am not the liturgical living police, judging your holiness and abilities as a Catholic or parent based on how or if you do St. Nick, if you bake Santa Lucia rolls from scratch, if you even know how St. Lucy is, if Santa comes to your house on Christmas, if you have a Jesse Tree, if you sing around your Advent wreath, if you forbid all Christmas music from your home before Dec 25th, if you do something for Epiphany... and so on.
If listening to Christmas music in October makes you happy then great, listen to Christmas music! If you find embroidering your own Jesse Tree ornaments to be the best thing ever then great, embroider away! If you only give your kids gifts on Epiphany then great, live it up with the Three Kings!
I know that in her wisdom the Church gives us the liturgical calendar, feast days, and the traditions that surround them to help us grow closer to Christ. I want you to grow closer to Christ. I hope my blog has helped you do that. I have enjoyed the conversations here and around the web about our differing opinions and perspectives and preferences.
The only judging I'm going to do is the kind that comes from weighing if your ideas would work for my family. If they do - awesome. And if they don't - awesome. How great that there are so many ways to do this the right way!
PS - If you are looking for a few ideas, here's a few posts to show you how we get through the next few weeks:
St. Nick + Santa Claus = how we do it
Santa Lucia Rolls - a guest post by Grace Patton (we use and love this recipe!)
Advent for Beginners or Converts or Reverts or those who are easily overwhelmed - a Knot Bad Video
Celebrating Venerable Fulton Sheen's unofficial feast day - a Knot Bad Video
Advent Playlist - a mix of carols about Advent and pop songs about winter