Complaining about the lack of Christ in public Christmas, now accepted as the “Holiday Season” or as I saw today in our local public park, “Happy Holly Days,” doesn’t help restore the essential meaning of Christmas. Ranting about the consumer economy doesn’t help change it, either. While we scurry around trying to get the best deals on gifts before our credit cards reach their limits, most of us don’t have time to map out ways to keep Christ in Christmas.
Wait! We don’t have time to keep Christ in Christmas? Put on the brakes! Stop the sleigh! There is time to reach deep into our hearts for the message of the Babe of Bethlehem. Pause a moment to remember what Christmas should means to you.
Recently, our Holy Father, Pope Francis asked us to spread the joy of the Gospel to a needy world.
He didn’t tell us to stand in the cold on street corners and announce in a loud voice the Gospel of Matthew. He didn’t tell us to confront people by asking them if they are saved or not. He told us to teach what we believe by living the Gospel at the level of daily life and to do it with joy.
Here we are already beginning week two of Advent by lighting two candles at each Sunday Mass. Why not jump into the beginning of the second week of Advent by making a decision to do two things a day that will bring more of Christmas grace and light into our world?
Here are some suggestions:
Give a dollar or two to whomever asks you for it. The Salvation Army person who rings a bell outside of the supermarket; the guy with the can who sits on a traffic island with a sign asking for help. Each gets a dollar or two. You have to do it twice the same day: two lit candles.
(Instead of. No, I don’t trust the Salvation Army. That guy with the can should get a job!) You add two dashes of grief and discontent to these people’s days. Instead, you could light two candles.
You say hello to the weary salesperson behind the counter at Walgreens; You smile at the receptionist at a busy office; Two more lit candles.
(Instead, you tell the sales person to hurry up and the receptionist to get a move on you’ve got other things to do. You add gloom and doom, two full.bushel baskets
At church, you move down toward the center of the bench rather than make people crawl over you.
You thank the usher who showed you to your place: two lit candles.
(You sit immovable. you wanna seat, come early like I did. Ushers should just do their jobs and not bother people. Two buckets full of disappointment and embarrassment thanks to you.
Say “hello” to a kid at school who never gets a greeting from you or anyone else. Thanks a teacher for a particularly good class. Two candles.
The kids wants some attention? Ridicule her hairstyle or uncool shoes. Make fun of the teacher, it will make you feel better. Two loads of gloom and darkness.
Go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and then remember to say a prayer for the priest who absolved you. Two lit candles.
You get the idea.
I think we can light two candles each day of this week. “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” Let’s light two candles each day this week.
Meanwhile, Merry Christmas!