Growing up, I was a child of both the effects of the baby boomer generation
of the 1950’s and the counter cultural revolution of the 1960’s. Thankfully, I
have learned to appreciate both trends for their positive and negative effects
on my personal intellectual & spiritual growth and development. The 1950’s
presented for Americans cultural acceptance of the then status quo lifestyle of
the Eisenhower administration, and for the most part
people were content with living their lives according to the paternal guidance
of Ike; especially after the tragic
effects of the Second World War. However, with the end of the 1950’s American
spiritual and cultural norms were changing…and would change dramatically in
the next decade.

I was born in 1960. Eisenhower was still in the
White House; JFK was poised just off-stage for his platform of the New
Frontier, which called Americans to boldly take up the challenges of modern
world, with its technological achievements and expectations. We were still a
few years off from the opening of the Second Vatican Council, so even Catholics
were part of the complacent Ike era, and really did not anticipate what the
1960’s would bring for the Catholic Church and the modern world

When I think of the many tasks and obligations we endure in our anticipation
of the Christmas celebration, it strikes me that we need to …prepare the way
of the Lord and do so in an enjoyable manner. Secularism and its constant
usurpation of the essential meaning of, SACRED, doesn’t always allow us to
prepare in joyful anticipation for the coming of the Savior on Christmas.
Rather, the tedious activities of Christmas preparation often overshadow the
great theological anticipation and expectations of eschatological joy, we as
faithful Catholics are preparing for at Christmas.

When I was considering what to write for this particular column, I recalled
the great Saint Thomas Aquinas when he stated,”…there is nothing in the
mind that is not first in the senses.” Advent is itself a theologically
sensory experience that demands and deserves our appreciation of celebration of
Christ the New Dawn that comes to us in the
Incarnation.

Part of the counter-cultural revolution of the 1960’s included the Hippie
movement and their alternative lifestyles that contradicted everything their
parents frankly stood for in life. Their clothing was different, hairstyles
were different, colors were bold, and people expressed themselves more freely
and openly than in the 1950. As a child of the 1960’s my own life experienced
the complacency of life that resulted from the Ike
years, but were charged with a sense of energy and change that embodied the
1960’s.

Advent calls us to celebrate, prepare and anticipate the most significant
event of all human history, the Word made Flesh and dwelling among us! This is
why we should prepare our Christmas celebration with happiness, joy and
celebration, not because we are celebrating a holiday…but because we are
celebrating THE HOLY Day of God’s redemption in our world.

When you finish reading
this article, take a moment to view the following excerpt from GodSpell. The
clip will help you spiritually renew your anticipation of the Advent season.
Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSIs1MHdFQY

Hugh J.McNichol is a Catholic author and journalist
that muses on Catholic topics and issues. Hugh
studied both philosophy and theology at Philadelphia’s
Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. He is currently in an advanced
theology degree program at Villanova
University
in suburban Philadelphia. He writes
daily at http://verbumcarofactumest.blogspot.com , http://catholicsacredarts.blogspot.com . Hugh
writes on his Irish Catholic parochial experiences at  http://graysferrygrapevine.blogspot.com.
He also contributes writings to The Irish Catholic, Dublin, British
Broadcasting Company
, and provides Catholic book reviews for multiple
Catholic periodicals and publishers, including Vatican Publishing House.
Hugh lives in Delaware’s
Brandywine Valley with his wife and daughter.
Hugh welcomes your comments via hugh.mcnichol@verizon.net.

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