A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Keeping the Christmas Spirit Alive

Posted on: December 27, 2012

The turkey dinner, presents and Christmas Day itself are now a happy memory. But the best part of the day was the peace.

Yes, everything was hushed in our neighbourhood—no traffic sounds, barking dogs or even shovels clearing the latest snowfall—since people were spending the day with their families instead of rushing off to work or go shopping. But I don’t mean peace and quiet. I mean the sense of peace that comes only at Christmas.

Christmas has always been my favourite time of year. I spend time with my family and we enjoy just being together, rather than running errands, nagging about chores, hurrying to make appointments, or dealing with the day-to-day. We’re at peace with one another and home is somehow happier.

In the community, people tend to be kinder and more generous to their neighbours and charities than at other times of the year. And more people attend church at Christmas to enjoy that sense of peace. My parish church was standing room only, both in the nave and in the church hall.

I wish every day could be like Christmas. Not for the presents, the preparations or the food, but that spirit of goodwill. I think that’s why many of us suffer from the “January blahs.” True, the anticipation is over and the festivities are through, but we also get back to the daily grind, where it often seems as though people look out for themselves and worry less about the rest of society.

As the old calendar year winds down, we could ask ourselves how we see 2012 as we look back. And we could consider what kind of year we expect 2013 to be: Just another year? A time to achieve goals and dreams? Maybe those goals could include keeping alive that peace and joy we feel when we celebrate Jesus’ birth by trying to live out our faith every day. What better time could there be to make such resolutions than during the Year of Faith?

I’ve already got a few resolutions in mind:

  • Continue working my way through Voices of the Saints to learn more about (and be inspired by) the saints.
  • Make time for Bible reading and prayer rather than find time for it.
  • Try to arrive at Mass a few minutes earlier so I can mentally prepare to celebrate the Eucharist. (We tend to arrive just before the service begins.)

I hope you still feel that Christmas peace and can carry it forward into 2013.

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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