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Friday, December 16, 2011

The Real Stuff

Slovenščina: Figura pastirčka z ovčico iz doma...
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"... the best way to maintain a spirit of love is to give beyond yourself. Find a place to give a little of your money, find a place to give a little of your time. It's amazing how much Christ comes back to you when you do that."

Sometimes when you come once again back to the season of Advent and then moving into Christmas, you can get this lazy and, perhaps, a little lost feeling that nothing seems to have changed and there seems no use to continue to welcome this celebration any more.

This is not surprising if we just look at all those secular activities associated with this season as thought Christmas is all only about shopping, Santa, silver bells, snow, tree, lights, Orchard Road, or even carols. When we start going down that way, then it is no wonder it could end up being the same old, same old. This is also giving in to the sentiment of secularists or even atheists who see all this as necessary fluff to feel good about something and nothing else.

The season and celebration of Christmas is much, much more than those shopping bags, presents, lights and glitter that usually crowd out the real message, which, by the way, is a radical and rallying call to claim our identity and true calling as children of God, that we belong to one another, and not slave of the material world and all the sins that ensue in our fallen nature.

"... in truth and the heavenly reality, which is so different from our reality, all is well because God has kissed the world and said 'I love you and here's My gift for you, My gift of eternal life through My son."
Sarah Hart on the song All is Well in This Winter's Eve.

The real Christmas message always continues to ring out tall and imposing because it is about our Father in heaven who came down to us to take us up to Him to see and enjoy His love that none in this world can ever hope to give or achieve. But because we always think less of ourselves we shoot for the second best or anything else, we are always finding our glasses half-filled and therefore always lacking. This is even in spite if the assurance of His son, Jesus Christ, who said, "I come to give you life, life to the fullest".

"For my husband and me, I wanted to paint that picture of . . . bringing our sacrament back to the manger year after year, turning to Christ with our brokenness in our hands and saying, 'Lord, continue to help us. Bless us and walk with us on this path of marriage. We come here to remember where love comes from. It comes from You. Please bless us with one more year of love for each other in our love for You."

One of the powerful symbols that continue to carry us into the mysterious embrace of the Incarnation, which is what Christmas is all about, would be the crib and in the Nativity scene. Its very setting is more than enough to tell us that our faith is not of this world and will never seat well with fluffy and light-headed sentiment that knows not the very presence and power of God, in the, ironically, vulnerable and lowly stable, whose occupants include an oxen and an ass.When we do find ourselves in front of a Christmas crib, we should allow the setting there tell us something about ourselves and how much we may need to amend  in order to accept the infant Christ child into our lives today, so that real transformation can take place. I pray that all married couples do take this opportunity to bring their sacrament back to the manger for their love to grow deeper, for that is what the Lord wants.

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