C.S. Lewis told the story about his brother overhearing a woman on a bus. As they drove by a church, which had a nativity in front of it, the woman on the bus said, “Oh My! They bring religion into everything. Look-they are even dragging it into Christmas.”
This story is almost funny. It’s a great reminder to us, as Christians, that we let Chrsitmas slip away from us. Christmas now seems to belong to the stores, the economy, and the the secular world. But, it doesn’t belong to those things. It belongs to Christ.
When we were young, Christmas was simple. We anticipated it, and our parents and families were responsible for making it special. Like many of you, I have beautiful memories of Chrsitmas as a child. On Christmas eve we would eat Polish food and gather with family and friends for a party. There was a lot of eating, drinking, and laughter. I hold these memories to be very precious.
As I have aged, Christmas has changed. Since becoming a priest, I have never spend Christmas or Christmas Eve with my family. And now, my mom and dad, and other family members are not available for a “party”. But, what I have also come to know, is that I can make Chrsitmas even more beautiful now.
Christmas is indeed a feast. It is a feast of God’s love for us. It is not just a hoiday, it is all about GOD becoming ONE with us-Emmanuel. Christmas is a time for us to be grateful for the gift of His amazing love. It is a sprititual feast of our salvation. We can change our expectations and come to understand that although we may enjoy the foood and festivities, that the real celebration must happen inside of us. And, if we internalize Christmas, God Himself can be born again into our lives.
We certainly cannot change the world around us. We can make sure, through prayer, generosity, contemplation, and joy, that Christmas 2022 can be the best every. My prayer for you and your family is that you will open your hearts, as never before to the real meaning of Christmas. I pray that Christ will be born in a new way into your heart and into your life.
May your Christmas be the very best ever!