1990 Dec 23 – 4th Sun Advent (Bulletin Letters)
Topic / Lectionary
CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS IN Pre- War USA:
It is not easy to celebrate Christmas in this country in a normal year. The Christmas story and symbols have been commandeered by the commercial world. Retail stores expect to make 40% of their sales during the month of December. Christmas sales are so important to the overall health of the economy that little is left to chance. Through advertising, every means of communication is geared to make the buying of ‘things’ synonymous with the celebration of Christmas. This commercialized Christmas hype bombards our lives constantly throughout the Christmas Season. Every parent of school age children knows what I’m saying here.
PREPARING FOR WAR?
Add to this, the present crisis in the Middle East with 400,000 U.S. troops ready to go to war with Iraq. I wonder if there is room for the true meaning of Christmas in our society. I’m compelled to ask how we can properly prepare for the birthday of the Prince of Peace while we are preparing to fight a war over oil? It cannot be done. To embark on one is to exclude the other. To say anything less, at this critical time, would be dishonest and a disservice to the Christmas story.
NO ROOM NOW, NO ROOM THEN: Two thousand years after His birth, we are no more prepared to receive Jesus than we were the first Christmas day. Maybe that is the way it’s supposed to be. The world has never been a welcoming place for the birth of Christ. On that first Christmas, according to the Gospel of Luke, except for a few poor shepherds, Jesus’ birth was ignored by mainstream society. He was hidden in poverty. In Matthew’s account, the public attention of the Star brought Herod’s death squads to Bethlehem to slaughter the Innocent. The Star also forced the Holy Family into political exile. Jesus spent His early years as a political refugee in Egypt.
WHERE WOULD JESUS BE BORN TODAY? WHO MIGHT HE BE?: Perhaps the best way to keep our Christmas ob-servance honest, is to seek out the’ Christ Child’ in our midst today. Look for Him in the peoples and surroundings in which the original Christ Child was born among the ignored and hidden poor among those who are strangers forced to flee their own homeland. If there is going to be room for the true meaning of Christmas in our hostile world this year, we who are followers of Jesus will need to help create this welcoming space with gestures of love and kindness to those among us who are in need. There’s a needy person in every family, in every community and in every corner of our world. When we reach out to them in love and kindness this Christmas Season, we do our little part in creating just enough space for the birth of Christ.
90 12 23 FR. FRANK’S CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEARS’ PLANS:
This year my mother is joining me here to help cele-brate Christmas. It will be Mom’s first visit since my return from jail. I think I have my house in good shape to receive her, but you really never know with Mothers. I will be heading for Des Moines on Sunday, Dec. 30th, after Masses for the Cordaro family gathering. I will be in Des Moines until Jan. 2nd. Fr. Mike Berner, who is assigned to St. Anthony’s parish in Des Moines, and who is from Council Bluffs, is exchanging Mass coverage with me for New Years’ Eve and Day so we both can spend some extended time with our families. I will return to Harrison County on Jan. 2nd.
P .S. Don’t forget the second collection for St. Anthony’s Shelter at all the Christmas Masses.