A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Keeping the Holiness in the Holiday

Posted on: December 19, 2013

Christmas tree angel

The angel topping our Christmas tree

As we approach Christmas, it strikes me as strange that some people want to take the Christ out of Christmas.

When I read Sarah Palin’s book Good Tidings and Great Joy, I could hardly believe that people have worked hard to force the removal of nativity scenes and the cancellation of Christmas plays and that words such as holiday and seasonal are replacing Christmas in advertising.

If we take the holiness out of the holiday, what are we celebrating? The commercial aspects of the holiday, as lamented in A Charlie Brown Christmas? Why would we feel the need to give gifts, gather with family, and help those in need if we weren’t inspired by the greatest gift from the most generous giver? God loved us first, and so we share that love with others:

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

We love because he first loved us.

~ 1 John 4:9, 19*

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas next week, we can take a note from the book of Psalms. The last six psalms include no lament or plea for deliverance from enemies; instead, they praise God for his greatness and glory, his help, and his care for his people. They extol his faithfulness, generosity and mercy and call on everyone—and every created thing—to praise him. “Let everything that breathes praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!” we read in Psalm 150:6.

May we pause in the busyness of each day to thank and praise God for his greatness and goodness and for the gift of Jesus as God-with-us. Let us keep the Christ in Christmas.

Though we speak much we cannot reach the end,

and the sum of our words is: “He is the all.”

Where shall we find strength to praise him?

For he is greater than all his works.

Terrible is the Lord and very great,

and marvelous is his power.

When you praise the Lord, exalt him as much as you can;

for he will surpass even that.

When you exalt him, put forth all your strength,

and do not grow weary, for you cannot praise him enough.

~ Sirach 43:27-30

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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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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