I feel very blessed to live in an almost one hundred per cent Catholic village in the rural northwest of Ireland. The chapel lies at the heart of our village and most families are regular Mass goers. The piety here is deeply moving. It is astounding how many souls frequent our chapel.
Yet, just the other day, on leaving our village chapel after Mass, a man asked me: ‘Do you like Christmas?’
He asked in a way that seemed to say that he didn’t.
I was taken aback. For I know this man to be pious. He regularly prays and assists at Holy Mass.
I replied that I love Christmas. It is such a special time of year, celebrating the birth of our sweet Lord. At least, he agreed, saying, ‘Yes, the most important birthday of them all!’
Still, he intimated that it is a tiresome time. I said to him, ‘Well it depends whether you celebrate Christmas liturgically or materially’. And we left it at that.
A short while before this exchange, another man told me, he couldn’t wait until Christmas was over. I was deeply saddened, as he also told me that he no longer believed that Jesus was born.
Whilst shopping this Advent, I see clearly what is happening. As people are becoming more and more bombarded to buy, buy, buy, the true message of Christmas becomes completely lost.
But this is nothing new. What is new to me is that the truly devout souls are even being lost to the Christmas Mystery.
Yet, the market will not refrain. It only gets worse year after year. Therefore we must do something ourselves, to curb the temptation to become lost in this material charade.
Do we really have to buy so much? Could we not have a simpler Christmas dinner, and give fewer, perhaps more meaningful presents?
All the time, focusing our attention back to the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, in human flesh.
Surely this profound mystery is worth a million, billion presents. It is the present for each and every one of us – that will sustain us and bring us depths of joy far beyond any material present or meal.
So, in these last days of Advent, I implore, do not become sucked into the craziness of the commercial world. Remember that we await the birth of our Saviour in Bethlehem – that we may be redeemed.
At such an event, the angels bow down, the shepherds flock and the three Kings travel from afar, all in search of the true present of Christmas. Let us then, travel to Him and with the Heavenly hosts, bow down and adore the Infant King.
Behold a Virgin shall conceive and bear a son: and His name shall be called Emmanuel.’ (Isaiah vii. 14 – Communion Antiphon, Traditional Liturgy, Fourth Sunday in Advent.)
O come, o come, Emmanuel.
I imagine this will be the last post from me before Christmas – although I believe my husband Roger will be saying more regarding his new book The Gentle Traditionalist.
Speaking for myself, I would like to say that both Roger and I feel overwhelmed by the wonderful response to his book. I want to thank everyone who has helped in anyway.
And I also wish you a beautiful and blessed Christmas, filled with the joy and peace of Heaven.