Advent, the time leading up to Christmas, has become a bit of a hazard these past few years. All the talk about Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays or someother such tripe, Nativity Scene or Nativity Unseen, to shop or not to shop...the list goes on.
Recently, I have been searching out Youtube clips of classic cartoons. These are the ones I remember watching on TV as a child, but would have been seen by a previous generation, or two, on the Big Screen...Steamboat Willy, Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and many others. I am collecting these for my little fellow to watch, instead of the mind-numbing fare that passes for entertainment these days. Actually, he no longer sees much of that anyway as we disconnected our satellite service last summer.
These cartoons are generally not politically correct on many levels, but some of them are just fun, without attempting social engineering, or some deliberate teaching. So I am weeding out the most violent of the lot, as our son gets rather overstimulated, and letting him enjoy the variety of music, characters, animation (some of which is in...horrors!...black and white!) and energy levels.
One thing I have noticed is how common were religious references in these cartoons whether it is a character saying grace before a meal, or such adaptations as referring to a character "casting his shortnin' bread upon the water" (from "The Whale Who Sang at the Met" pt. 1). The Christmas cartoons often had pictures of people attending church services, and singing real Christmas carols (ie. religious carols!).
Television is nearly devoid of any respectful and/or accurate religious references anymore. Thus goes society. But I think that's been said before.
A couple of years ago, I met a young woman who came to my booth at a local market. She saw my display of Catholic books and came in to share a divine intervention (as she saw it) and ask about prayer.
In talking to this gal, I realized she had no idea what I was referring when I spoke. At all. I asked if she knew the Our Father? Nope. Did she know who Mary was? Nope. I went more basic, and she was still lost. This was a challenge indeed!
My husband and I went to speak to her at her home a short time later. I'm afraid we left them bored and befuddled. We did, however answer her one direct request. When I first met her at my booth, she pointed to a Rosary and said "I want to learn to pray THAT."
I think of her often when I hear about efforts to expunge the last vestiges of public Christianity. I believe that we are developing a language that will have no common reference points, if we haven't already.
Will anyone understand if someone refers to shaking the dust from ones sandals? Going up a mountain? Meeting ones Maker? Casting bread upon the water? The Pearly Gates? Going to Hell? Pearls before swine?
I know there are many others, too.
I think this is posing a huge challenge with regards to evangelisation.
I'm not sure I'm ready!