This year, as we’ve journeyed through Advent, I’ve tried a little experiment. I’ve kept track of how often I’ve heard about “the holidays,” “holiday sales” and “holiday gift-giving” . . . and how little I’ve heard about the heart and meaning of the season: Christmas.
Try it yourself. Listen to the radio. Watch a little television. Read the magazine and newspaper ads. You’ll still find the word “Christmas,” but it seems less and less a part of our public festivities. And this despite the fact that the great majority of Americans still describe themselves as Christians, and tens of millions still actively practice their faith.
Christians - Words - Followers - Jesus - Christ
Christians — in other words, followers of Jesus Christ – celebrate December 25 not as just another secular holiday, but as the birthday of the messiah; the birthday, in the words of St. Leo the Great, of life itself.
We live in a special time of joy every Advent and Christmas, and it has very little to do with holiday sales. Jesus Christ is Emmanuel – “God with us.” Sharing presents with friends and family is a wonderful tradition that springs eagerly from our Christmas joy. But the noise of mere things should never drown out the quiet voice of God’s love made flesh in the birth of Jesus. Bethlehem, for each of us individually and the world as a whole, is the beginning of something entirely new and utterly beautiful if we ask God for the purity of heart to possess it.
World - Today - World - Christmas
The world we know today is not so different from the world of the first Christmas.
For Mary, there was nothing sweet or easy about being pregnant and unmarried in the rough hills of Galilee. She had her faith in God, but whether she had the understanding of her local relatives and friends is another matter....
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