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I commemorate by eating.

I'm not much of a Smithmas fan. The first time I noticed it, about four years ago, was a really difficult experience for me. I had been rehearsing with a local Methodist choir for several weeks in preparation for their Christmas Eve service, so I was quite immersed in the "reason for the season." Then, the Sunday before Christmas, (the only Christmas service the LDS congregation would have nigh unto the actual holiday), the high councilor came and started out with "we teach of Christ; we testify of Christ; we are Christians" and then proceeded to spend the next 35 minutes talking about Joseph Smith, with not another single word about Jesus. The contrast was stunning to me.

It doesn't bother me so much now, but that's just because I'm cynical and snarky and secular. I don't think that's an overall improvement in my attitude.

I have to admit that when I heard the term "Smithmas" I had a moment of Protestant iconoclasm, which is strange since I'm a Catholic.

I think the problem is that "Smithmas" sounds likes it's stealing a march on "Christmas" making "Smith" equal to "Christ." I take it that's not the intent, rather it's just a cleverly concocted wordplay like "Festivus" or "Chrismukah."

On further reflection, what the Mormons are doing is celebrating the "feast day" of Joseph Smith. The Catholic calendar is chock-a-block full of feast days that celebrate the "cult" of individual saints. On those days, Catholics pause to reflect upon the example and charism of a given saint, some of whom have particular significance for individual Catholics. For example, I like the fact that once a day I'm reminded to contemplate the examples of St. Augustine (August 28), St. Thomas More (June 22) St. Edmund Campion (December 1). In this way, Catholicism manages to remain in communion with the "Church Triumphant."

"Smithmas" sounds like a working toward a feast day concept, which underlies to me how Protestantism impoverished itself by wiping out concepts and traditions that it is barely aware of missing.

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