I know it has been a while since I last posted, and for that I apologize. As you can imagine, the days leading up to the celebration of Christmas are rather busy for a priest. Now that the craziness has died down some, I want to reflect on the failure of our world to remember that Christmas is a season, not just a day.
So often the radio stations stop playing Christmas music at midnight, the stores move on to Valentine's decorations on the 26th, and even families just want to get everything down and put away as soon as possible. I even saw two Christmas trees at the dumpster on December 26th, with a few strands of tinsel hanging that was so sad! It used to be that we tried to drag out the celebration of Christmas. I remember as a child that the week between Christmas and New Year's was spent visiting relatives and friends. We had to get to my parent's aunts and uncles, making sure we looked and acted our best. There was always something to eat - depending on which side of the family it was either Pizzelles, struffoli and wine or butter cookies, Poor Man's Cake and tea. In any case, food was always involved! In this way, Christmas was not just a one day celebration, but was celebrated every day when we visited loved ones. The visits also reaffirmed our unity as a family, and there were usually stories told of the previous generations. It was at these times I learned more of the history of my family and was grounded in my identity as the descendant of people who sacrificed a lot to make a better life for their children.
I see the celebration of the Christmas Season in this way as more important than ever today, since so many children do not have the advantage of seeing their extended family other times during the year as I did. By celebrating the season every day, we also are able to reflect more on the importance of the coming of Christ into the world. And this is a key point, since it is not just an event in the past. You see, Christ comes into our lives each day, but often we fail to recognize Him. Reflecting on the stories of shepherds, magi, Simeon, angels, Anna and even the horror of the slaughter of the Innocents, we can become more aware of Christ as He comes to us each day.
My prayer for each of you is that you will continue to celebrate and remember the birth of Christ, so that His coming will not be something we remember, but rather experience. Merry Christmas!