Advent and Pearl Harbor in the Same Week

Advent — Waiting for Christmas
And
A Note About Pearl Harbor

By Jeff Salter

We’re blogging this week about Advent.

Not being Catholic, I had only a general notion that Advent was part of the Christmas Holiday season, but did not actually know what it was about.  [I grew up in Baptist churches where I don’t recall much (if any) emphasis on Advent.]  So I had to look it up.  Thanks to Wikipedia:

Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning ‘coming’.”

Certainly, as a Christian, I do look forward to the annual observance of Christ’s birth (even though historians maintain Jesus was likely born during the warm months rather than on Dec. 25th).  As a grown-up, I enjoy the excitement I see in our grandkids as that BIG DAY approaches.  Of course, they’re mainly thinking about receiving gifts.  LOL

And I remember, as a kid, how I spent many weeks leading up to Christmas … poring over the Sears Christmas Gift Catalog and wondering / hoping I’d actually get something I wanted.

 

Day of Infamy

On a completely different note, let me observe that Saturday will be the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and nearby military installations.  I’ve met a lady whose husband was in that conflagration and she described his horror and struggle to escape the below-decks compartments of his ship.

One of my wife’s uncles was stationed at Hickam Field on that Day of Infamy and his airstrip received lots of bombs and machine gun strafing.  He was blown out of his boots by a nearby explosion … and his buddy – just a few feet away – was killed by that blast.

Without the attack at Pearl, World War II may have had a very different complexion.  Even though there was a lot of stress in the diplomatic and economic relationship between America and Japan, there was only a sense that eventual war was possible — though certainly not inevitable.  Many believed terms could be arranged which would have lessened the tension between both nations.  But after this sneak attack, America – logically – acknowledged it was at war with Japan.

Since Germany and Japan had a treaty of mutual protection, the state of war between America and Japan meant Germany was obliged to declare war on America also.  Which Hitler did.  So America – logically – acknowledged it was also at war with Germany.

By that point the European war between Germany (& Italy) against France, England, Russia, and numerous other countries — had been going on for nearly two years.  America had been providing logistical support and equipment to its allies, but had not put boots on the ground.

Pearl Harbor day changed all that.

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About jeff7salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Twelve completed novels and five completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015, "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015, "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015, "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014, "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014, "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014, "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014, "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013, "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013, "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013, "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012, "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012. Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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14 Responses to Advent and Pearl Harbor in the Same Week

  1. Iris B says:

    Kids “make” us look at Christmas and the Christmas season from a different perspective, right? 🙂

    Sorry – don’t know much about Pearl Harbor 😦

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Definitely, it helps keep my perspective fresh, Iris.
      When I was a kid, the family budget was impossibly tight and we didn’t get much for Christmas. I almost never got “what I wanted”. So, my recollections of the season have a thread of disappointment which runs thru those young years.
      Compared to my childhood years, our children were loaded down with gifts.
      Compared to our children’s young years, THEIR kids receive extravagantly.

      Like

      • Iris B says:

        So sad to hear about your “Christmas experience”. I loved our Christmases and have very fond memories, and funnily, more about the celebrations than the actual presents!
        YES YES YES … it’s overkill with presents nowadays … it’s a shame.

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  2. Our Baptist church never did an Advent celebration as I was growing up, so I was surprised when our new church started it… I honestly thought is was a Catholic thing until just a few years ago!

    I do love Christmas, though, and the joy that comes with it. Ever since Mr. T was little I’ve always explained that Santa was the embodiment of good will and joy and to help remind us to be good to others, to ourselves and to give of ourselves all year long! But you can’t go wrong with a great present under the tree!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Same for me, Kate. Hardly a breath about it as I was growing up. But my Baptist Church here in Somerset KY has an Advent Candle and each year we light a candle each Sunday of Dec., leading up to Christmas Day.
      You’re doing a great job teaching your child about the meaning behind the gifts and that Santa represents that spirit of sharing. Very important for kids to see Santa in a different light than the tooth fairy and Easter Bunny.

      Like

  3. Advent is big with Catholics, Jeff, but not exclusive to them. As for Pearl Harbor, well, I grew up with the WWII generation.It was one of the biggest influences in my life.

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    • jeff7salter says:

      I wonder if (not putting much focus on Advent) was a regional thing with the Baptist churches in Louisiana. Like I told Kate, above, the church here puts proper emphasis on Advent each year.

      Like

  4. I grew up in a protestant church (not Baptist, though), and I don’t remember any mention of Advent, either. But it seems our services in December gradually started recognizing Advent (complete with wreaths and candles) about the time my kids were small – they’re 29 and 26 now. So maybe things have changed – probably as a way to keep the meaning of Christmas prominent as we’re getting ready for the holiday.

    And yes, I definitely heard about Pearl Harbor – my uncle enlisted the next day, but Dad had to wait until he turned 18 – almost eight months after he graduated from high school in 1945. But by that he was old enough to enlist, the war was over. Uncle Jim was sent to the European front – he said it was so they wouldn’t confuse him with the enemy.

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    • jeff7salter says:

      I’ve read a good bit about the Army division sent to Europe because they were of Japanese ancestry but born in the U.S. I can’t remember the term now, but I think it’s something like ‘Niesi’. They fought bravely in the Italian campaign, among others. That division had some of the highest casualties of the European Theater … partly because they very given extremely dangerous assignments and also because their reinforcements couldn’t reach them.
      Your uncle was like many other patriots who signed up on Dec. 8th.

      Like

  5. mjanevalquist says:

    Excellent blog! We should all definitely take the time to pray for those “boots on the ground” past and present. I’m Catholic — we’ve always had the tradition of an Advent calendar and moving the three wise men through the house towards the Nativity scene each night until Christmas Eve. I guess I sort of assumed everybody did it.

    Glad to know there’s another history buff that has studied how Christ’s birthday came to be a winter holiday!

    Like

  6. pjharjo says:

    “Boots on the ground” is a phrase that makes me want to cry, Jeff. But I guess they found out what happens when you mess with a sleeping giant.

    Like

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