Blog # 413 Christmas
Christmas is whenever we think about it. And the more we do the better it gets. Here in the United States, on December 25, you could hardly miss the fact it is a special day. We Catholics call it Christmas. The day on the calendar is the same as all other days of the year as far as the number of hours it contains, or in other words as far as the sun is concerned. But it is very special for some of us who will have spent the time between then and now celebrating the season of Advent, getting ready for the celebration of Christmas Day 2014 to come.
Our experience of Advent is important, but especially so since under the influence and effect of the present current pagan culture and mass media, whether we realize it or not, we are pressured and tempted to conform to the way the day is lifted up under the name Holiday with little or no explicit reference to Jesus rather than Christmas in many if not in the majority of instances. As the sun goes down on Christmas Day we sometimes have the feeling the day was too short, and we have wished the event of Christmas could go on forever.
Actually, the event of Christmas can, should, and does in some way go on every day of the year in the hearts and lives of those who believe and are Baptized, until the end of time. But we must think about it, understand it, and make it our own by faith in order to experience Christmas as it was designed to be. We are blessed by our Catholic experience of spending these coming few weeks
celebrating Advent with a spiritual emphasis on what the event of Christmas is about. We will try not to permit distractions and secular competitors to consume too much of our time and energy and overshadow the experience of Advent. As in years gone by, on December 25 there will be pies and presents, snowmen and reindeer, Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, gourmet eating and the wonderful experience of Christmas love shared with our families. All of these are good, and we will be blessed and please the Lord in enjoying them again in 2014. But they are not what Christmas is all about.
The theology of Christmas invites us to think more deeply than the colors shapes and sounds of Christmas Day to the identity and meaning of the original event that occurred two thousand years ago. We are called to realize in our limited human way the baby born of Mary, to be called Jesus, is one and the same divine person revealed in the Gospel of John as the Word of God , equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit in the everlasting all-powerful Blessed Trinity. The Resurrected Jesus is the current Jesus to whom we are united as branches on a vine and with, through and in whom we worship God, whom we recognize as our intercessor before the Father, and to whom we address our prayers. Jesus as the Word of God (Emmanuel) is the sole witness to the creation by God of all that exists, the love of God for all people, the authenticity of the Bible and the Church as the Body of Christ, and the possibility and unimaginable power that would be required and available to bring peace among all nations around the world if we would seek, believe, and obey His will.
All of this is involved in the gift of Christmas. Advent is an invitation to spend time and energy reflecting upon and increasing our awareness and personal appreciation of it all as it applies to our daily experiences throughout the coming year.