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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly

There is this palpable sense of frenzy in the air as people rush around looking, considering, thinking, wondering, checking, turning here, there and everywhere. There are extremely focused people, nearly oblivious to others around them. There are those who wander about, almost aimlessly, with a bit of panic on their faces. There are sighs of relief, frustrated looks and the occasional exclamations of joy at discovering what one was looking for. People, I am talking about shopping.

It amazed me to realize that in the United States, the day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. Apparently, this day is the official start of Christmas shopping and retailers often make a huge part of their profit on this day. I suppose it is similar to the shopping event that takes place on Canada’s Boxing Day. I’ve heard of people carefully planning a strategy on how to shop around for the best buys on these days. Some start lining up the night before or early in the morning at their favourite stores. For the most part, I believe it can get pretty crazy.

Which is what this whole season of Christmas has become really — crazy. Shopping, parties, eating, drinking, mailing cards and packages, driving around, finding parking — it has become so crazy-busy that people almost forget what all the fuss is about. At our parish, there are buttons a group makes available for free that read, “Keep Christ in Christmas.” This is what the fuss should be all about.

I think a lot of times, we can get too drawn into the commercialism and activism of this busy season, that we forget the most important things about it. It happens to me at times. I was fretting over trying to find a particular item a son of mine wanted for a gift recently, until I realized what a waste of time it was for me to do that. It had been keeping me from appreciating everything else that was happening around me. It happens to a lot of people too, and it makes for a very stressful time of the year.

For Christians, we know that there are four Sundays of Advent, leading up to Christmas. That’s about a month allotted as time to prepare — for what? Our Christmas tree? Our lights? Our gifts? Our Christmas menu? Our Christmas outfit? Our Christmas calendar? All those things help to enhance this most special time, but none can compare to how we prepare our hearts and minds for this feast. Can you imagine how important Christmas really is? For Christians, that is four whole weeks and some days to get our minds wrapped around the real reason for the celebration of Christmas. No rush here. No line-ups. Take your time.

Let your mind and your heart pause in wonder and awe at the quiet splendour of what took place over two thousand years ago. A man, a woman and a boy child — a babe named Jesus! — in a manger. Don’t forget that bright star in the East now. Throw in a couple of animals lucky enough to be hanging around. Enter the shepherds who were told of this great event by no less than angels! Talk about alleluia! And as if that wasn’t enough, well here come three Kings from the Orient, bearing gifts for this boy-child. Now imagine — this manger is big enough to hold a couple more people. Do you see yourself in a corner there, or perhaps trying to gently nudge your way past a sheep or two? There you are! Are you married? Well, don’t forget to bring your husband or wife along! Got kids? The more, the merrier. On this night of nights, nothing is impossible.

When you find yourself in the midst of a store teeming with shoppers, 20th in line to pay at the cashier, or circling the parking lot for what must be the 15th time in search of that elusive parking space, or just caught up in a whirlwind of craziness — stop. Remember the real reason for this season. And let the joy of Christmas put a smile on your face and in your heart.

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