It’s that time of year again. Time to take down the Christmas decorations, make some resolutions and forge ahead into the New Year.
I was struck by a homily this Sunday. The priest pointed out that before we even celebrate the Epiphany, Christmas trees are thrown to the curb and decorations are boxed away as we “de-Christmas our lives”. So well put. More than simply taking down the decorations, we more accurately purge every vestige of Christmas from our lives. We toss the baby and the proverbial bath water to the curb, grateful to end the busiest and most stressful time of the year for most of us. We “de-Christmas” our lives.
I’m the first to admit that I usually do look forward to moving on from this season. It is busy. It’s stressful. It’s so secularized that the real meaning is unavoidably obscured, even for those of us attending daily Mass and who take our faith more seriously. The noisy crowds and chatter of Christmas Mass puts the icing on the cake. There’s barely a quiet moment to contemplate the awe and wonder of this amazing event, the birth of Jesus Christ.
Something is clearly wrong in our world, even among us Catholics. Generally I’m of the mind that, if the masses are all doing something, do the opposite. In many ways that makes sense as we see a society mired in dysfunction, addiction and sin. But of course that doesn’t always hold true. Many things become popular for a reason – because they’re good, useful, fun or entertaining (think Chia pet! L0L). But when it comes to the bigger, more weighty matters in life, like morality and spirituality, this “do the opposite” rule, more often than not, proves the wisest decision.
Jesus didn’t come just for a season but for all seasons, for everyone, forever.
It’s not a past event, but a constant reality. Emanuel – our God is truly with us – every day.
So maybe instead of “doing Christmas” each year as the world does, with all the activities, obligations and stress which that entails, and then “de-Christmasing”, relieved to leave it all behind us, we should think in terms of “re-Christmasing” our lives and our world year round. Maybe we need to keep our nativity scenes out all year long. Maybe we need to draw close to the manger and rest on a more regular basis than just during this busy time of year. Jesus didn’t come just for a season but for all seasons, for everyone, forever. It’s not a past event, but a constant reality. Emanuel – our God is truly with us – every day and often in the most quiet and simple ways as He was that first Christmas. But we need to draw close, in quiet, to see Him.
So this year, sure – put the tree to the curb, put the wreaths and garlands and ornaments away. Pack up the trinkets and knick-knacks and elves on the shelves. But keep your nativity set out. Draw close to the infant in the manger, the Source of true peace. Get to know Him in a deeper way as you contemplate each day this reality of all realities – God is with us. Re-Christmas.
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