Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Celebrating Christmas

Celebrate the season with whatever joy, hope, and light you have

For the past few years, some folks around where I live have taken up the slogan, "Put Christ back into Christmas." Perhaps they are urging people to move away from the hectic consumer-driven buying frenzy and discover a more spiritual celebration of the holiday. I have had the sense, though, that some are saying, this is a Christian holiday, it is our holiday, so you need to celebrate it our way. Last year, I came up with a snarky comeback: "Let's put the Mass back into Christmas." Since I was a former evangelical Christian who had discovered the ancient liturgy of the Catholic Church, I could "one-up" those conservative Christians when it came to getting back to the "reason for the season."

While part of my Christmas celebration will be to attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve (for the "Christ Mass"), Christmas has actually spilled out into the world, creating many ways to celebrate the light that comes to us even during the darkest time of the year. Before it was a "Christian holiday season," Winter Solstice was the oldest celebration in human history, some say going back 30,000 years to a time when people built bonfires to encourage the sun not to go away completely and to exercise the sure and certain hope that days of light and warmth were coming. Christmas has become that time when we can all celebrate the coming of the light to our lives and an end to our darkened days. A friend of mine shared a Christmas sermon by Rev. W. Leslie Pugh from Midland, Texas. Pugh tells why Christmas is important to him even though he can no longer literally believe the stories from the Bible. One thing he said was that "Christmas notions about the infusion of the divine into human dwellings -- a holy baby born in a manger -- happen often."

So celebrate the season however you wish, with whatever joy, hope and light that you have, in whatever way is meaningful to you. Take time to recognize the light in your life. Spend some time rejoicing that the story of the divine infusing our human dwellings is indeed true, and that such infusions of the divine happen often in our lives. Take this moment to be aware of the divine presence that not only "dwelt among us," but is still with us today.


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