Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Thought for Tuesday 23 December 2014

“We all experience firsthand the sad effects of this blind submission to pure consumerism; in the first place a crass materialism, and at the same time a radical dissatisfaction, because one learns quickly that the more one possesses, the more one wants.”  John Paul II

What makes a “good” Christmas?  I’m sure the answers will vary because each of us has priorities of our own.  For some, being with family is a “good” Christmas.  For others a “good” Christmas is defined by the presence of children.  There are many others depending upon circumstances of the day.

Yet for so many others, a “good” Christmas has no meaning one way or the other.  It is like any other day; a day in which our health is still failing, a day in which the uncertainties of a job still linger, a day without friends or family.  It is just another lonely day filled with fear and doubt. 

Though we do curse the consumerism that pervades the season and we moan (or scream on social media!) when someone refuses to say “Merry Christmas”, the truth is our priorities do not often include the celebration of the Incarnation of Messiah.  He is an afterthought, an incidental to the holiday rather than the Primary Focus of the Holy Day.  I doubt very much that anyone heads to a department story for a special sale on the particular thing we have in mind with a sole focus on The Lord.

Yet the late Pope John Paul II observed the one thing we should surely know: the more we have, the more we want.  When we measure satisfaction on any scale according to our resources, it is a rare thing that we ever have “enough”.  Whether it is money or material possessions, we miss out on the greatest Gift of all when we put any thing or any one ahead of Christ – even as we insist that “Jesus is the reason for the season”.  Merely saying it does not make it so – not in the eyes of unbelievers who watch carefully for any sign of faith, any sign that there is a reason for hope.  They believe what they see.

If we really want this Holy Day to be the very best Christmas we have ever experienced, Christ must come first.  No family gatherings, no friends at a feast, no opening of presents … until we have offered our very best to The Lord in word AND deed.  Once we find our way of doing this, the family gatherings, the welcoming of friends, and the opening of presents will have new meaning.  And we will find blessings we have been missing all along.

Come soon, Lord Jesus!


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