It seems that as soon as we pass the rush of the back-to-school sales and the onslaught of Halloween, we abruptly arrive at a pinnacle of buying madness: our contemporary Christmas Season. Have you ever asked yourself the question why are we doing this? Where is Christ in all of this mess? How come that Christmas has turned into just a joyful season of buying and selling? Some of our fellow Christians would even suggest that it would be better for us to abandon our Merry Christmas and give it up to the “Season greetings” people… Amidst the din of Bing Crosby in the supermarkets and the department store speakers, one might ask: is celebrating Christ’s coming still relevant at all?
If one pays close attention to the lyrics of many of those so-called “Christmas” songs, we may come to realize the complete absence of Christ in them. Where is the link between present-day Santa Claus and third-Century St. Nicholas? Not surprisingly, some pernicious neighbors might even interject with one of those ill-gotten, fact-finding quotes just to say that Christmas is the Christianization of the Roman pagan midwinter festival of Saturnalia! In that line, it has been said that Hollywood performed the greatest lobotomy in history: they were able to keep the fun midwinter festival of drink and merrymaking while removing the primary reason for the festival: the birth of the God-man, Jesus Christ.
Good Examples: true role models needed
So why should we celebrate Christmas? What good does sharing the birth of Christ? How may Christmas celebrations help and assist in the building up of a happy family? Good examples assist and aid in the building of every aspect of the Christian social tissue. The institution of the family, which seems to be under constant attack by our less-and-less ‘Christian’ society, is in need of good examples and role models. And it is precisely during Christmas, that the Holy Family is highlighted as a paradigmatic example of family life.
The Holy Family: Example for all families
In a sense, the Holy Family could be taken as the opposite of a regular family. The child who needs support and guidance from his parents, in the case of the Holy Family is the God-man Jesus Christ. The Head of the household, Joseph of the line of David, is the least — in the supernatural sense– in the entire family. Our Blessed Mother Mary, though totally human, is immaculately conceived, full of grace, and the apex of God’s handiwork on earth. So how can this “superfamily” be an example to our at times complex and broken families? Simple: the Holy Family also went through trials and tribulations, moments of triumph and of tragedy…just like us. But the key in looking at the Holy Family is seeing that they never gave up. Joseph the just, dying before the public life of Jesus, in turn, becomes the Patron Saint of a good death. Mary, at the feet of her beloved Son, as he expires, became the Mother of the Church. Our Lord, carrying His Cross to the end, redeems mankind and opens the door to Heaven. So the Holy Family, (far from Hollywood-like scripts), – serves as a perfect example and true inspiration on our path to Heaven. Jesus depended on Mary and Joseph for his upbringing as a human being, in very much the same way that our children look towards their parents for direction, guidance, and enlightenment.
Keeping Jesus in the Light of Christmas
So, amidst the rustling bustle of the month of December, let us not forget the image of those candles we light in Church during Advent. Three purple, one rose and finally one white; they are a symbol of our expectation for the birth of Christ in Bethlehem but more particularly a beacon of light in the hearts of each member of our family. Never forgetting that true Faith is passed on in the simple things; simple things and examples teaching the small ones how to feel the love God in Christmas.
by Br. Justin Bonyun, EP