IS CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS?
December 11th, 2007
“Only Heroic Christian Families Will Survive.” I’ve used that expression often in writing and speaking in many parts of the country. I mean it. But what does it mean?
Advent, the preparatory weeks before Christmas, literally means “coming” and historically spelled out means a certain “presence” but not yet fully revealed. For instructed and devout Christians it means a time of waiting in discipline in preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ, who is true God, true Man, our Lord, God and Savior. For such Christians of faith it means that spiritually Jesus Christ comes anew by grace to our souls each year, especially at Christmas time if our souls are prepared. That is why many Christians emphasize St. John the Baptist during the Advent weeks before Christmas.
“Christmas” has devoured Advent, mixed with turkey giblets of Thanksgiving Day, Macy’s dept. store parade ushers in the “Christmas season.” Every Holy Day and Holy Season tends to lose the context it has, but they still officially have in the Church’s liturgical year. Holy Days and Seasons have become Holidays.
Easter has hopped across Lent; Halloween with all its superstitions has frightened away all the Saints. New Year’s celebrations - which should be observed as the Octave of Christmas - and honoring the Mother of Jesus whom God used for the Incarnation - by her being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:34-35) - has drunk up Epiphany, Christ’s call to the nations to come (Matthew 2:1-18).
The disappearance of Advent is disturbing. It has even injured the secular “Christmas” season; opening a hole, in fact a whole ditch that has drained the hearts of man of the true meaning of Christ’s birth.
By design the secularists do not want any mention of Christ at all; no mention of Christ in our schools, or society. They would like to avoid the word Christmas for it contains “Christ.” More tinsel, more tassels, more glitter, more glee, until the glut of candies, ornaments and trimmings and multiple gifts have left almost nothing for Christmas Day. And many “Christians” who follow the secular, commercial world, and have been desensitized to real Christianity, throw away their Christmas trees on December 26 - thinking the Christmas season has ended. But in the Church’s liturgical worship, the Christmas season only begins Christmas eve. Our home spiritual celebrations should parallel to what and when the Church in its worship celebrates the true Christmas season, from Christmas eve, Dec. 24 through the Feast of Epiphany, which this year is Jan. 6.
“Only Heroic Christian Families Will Survive ” in our secularized society. Do not excite children about many gifts that Santa might bring. Such leads only to disappointments. Christmas is not essentially for children. It is for mature Christians who are in awe of the Incarnation - the Word made flesh - God become Man; God come to live among us as a Brother; come to die to save us from sin. “Unless you be converted and become as little children you shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3).
Many Advent traditions are lost to many: the Jesse tree; or, the Advent Wreathe; or, the child placing a straw in an empty crib each time a prayer and sacrifice is made in discipline so the infant Jesus will have a welcome place in which to lie, etc. Don’t let the world determine your family lives, values and traditions. Parents, remind your children that Christmas is Christ’s birthday. Ask them: “What are you going to give Jesus Christ for his birthday this year?” Don’t smother children with gifts. Share with them Christ’s love. Christian parents must make their family lives counter-cultural or Christian Families will not survive.