We're back at that time of year again and Christmas is right around the corner. So I might as well try and the least I could do is write something about it. Once again it has become the challenge of the department stores to sell, and they have hired a lot of expensive people to figure out how to disguise it more and create a feeling of need for their products, to sell more, and I have nothing against it. It has become such an integral part of the holiday season that it wouldn't be the same without it. However, the holiday marketing makes Christmas a celebration of gift giving, and this can blur out the true meaning. Have we forgotten the true meaning?
Just yesterday I went to see a film, very good by the way, and it brought me to the point where I am now. I thought that I would let my imagination slip into the movie and let myself wonder what I'd done in those moments. Would I have acted the same? Could I have stood so tall in the face of such glaring personal adversity? The logical answer is no, but the truth is I am not certain. Perhaps it is a good time to apologize for our personal blindness, for our ingratitude, for our lack of interest in knowing ourselves; Jesus knew himself, his limitations and he overcame them.
Have you ever thought about how you reflect him? Faced with the same trials could you have taken that place knowing what was at stake?
It is not enough to go to help some young people or children in need, once a month (or even a week), that is a cheap awareness, a personal tranquilizer, simply attending church on Sundays and the forget about the message throughout the rest of the week. To someone who is loved, who is born and who has given his life for each of us, the least we can do is dedicate a piece of ourselves to him, even if it is just a few minutes each day.
This time of year makes it glaringly clear that we do not see an opening in our schedules for even that.
Perhaps it is best to have a moment's pause to reflect seriously on our lives, on God's role in our daily existence, and how we can improve ourselves. I'll take care of this next week when I do my personal planning. For now, I have nothing left but to wish you a wonderful holiday ahead.
It's really amazing how the real meaning of Christmas has been lost. I was looking for a photo to accompany this post and I put the word Christmas in, and of course, out of the first 50 results, only 3 were of the birth (one of them was Star Wars inspired with Jesus replaced with Darth Vader which I found in particularly bad taste), the others were Santa Claus, snowmen, gifts, etc.
The same thing happens in our minds. With the mindless consumerism it is easy to loose focus on what it means. Here is a test, think about the birth of Jesus, and how much space it occupies. Probably at this point in the game, the 10th of December, we have already bought and wrapped all the gifts, we have planned the Christmas Eve dinner, the Secret Santa in our office is finished, and most importantly? Will we have pondered what the coming of Jesus means for us? Right? Hum, actually as I have repeated more than once, I am not a religious fanatic, I am far from being anything of the sort, but I have always been interested in talking clearly about the issues that deserve to be addressed, and Christmas is worth commenting on, and its importance.
The gospel narrates the following: "There was no place for them in the inn" (Luke 2:7) as we know, this is why Jesus was born in a stable. Well, that's exactly what's going on now. In the inn, that is, in our hearts, there is room for many things (gifts, New Year's Eve parties, dinners, etc. all of them very valid by the way, I have nothing against that), but the problem is that since we dedicate so much time to those activities we do not leave a place for Jesus in our inn (our heart) to be born.
And what does it mean, give him a place in our hearts? Pray a prayer on 24 at 12? No! We should do that but it's not enough. The idea is to let him be born and grow in our hearts. And how do we do that? It's easy, no one can love what they don't know, so let's start by knowing him. But to frame these ideas in concrete activities in our daily lives. You'll see how the themes will appear on their own, all that matters is your willingness to start dealing with it.
It's worth it, it starts this week, it starts today, it starts right now, and I assure you you won't regret it.