Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things.
T’is the season for…selling???
That is the question. What are these so-called “season greetings” all about? Shopping? Buying? Selling more and more stuff? Let's drive all of these things (and them) out of our life, please!
T'is the season for...? It’s that time of year when we need to ask this question. It’s nothing new. It’s actually been going on for quite some time now. And it’s a good thing. Before there was Wal-Mart and Black Friday, there was Thanksgiving. Before Frosty and Rudolph appeared on the scene, there was the child Jesus and the Nativity scene. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks to God and family, two rare commodities in today’s “Give me, give me” society.
Sacred and Profane. “I, John heard a voice from heaven speak to me. Then the voice spoke to me and said, ‘Go, take the scroll that lies open…and swallow it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will taste as sweet as honey’” (Rev 10:8-11).
Thanksgiving is a sweet moment. Life is precious. Marriage is beautiful. Christmas is wonderful. These are sweet moments in our lives that have turned sour over time. Instead of being special moments for reflecting on God and resting with friends and family, they have turned into all-night shopping sprees, with workers striking and shoppers waiting anxiously for hours outside the bitter cold for bargains and steals!
Ho, ho ho, what we will do for a steal!!! And oh, what we will not do for the Lord!
These are sacred moments that have turned profane. And we have only ourselves to blame.
These moments belong to Christianity! We own them! And over the course of centuries, we have allowed their purpose and meaning to be stolen - hijacked - by opportunists, politicians and secularists, and turned into commercials and sales. While they did it, we didn’t put up a fight. In fact, we joined in…merrily, merrily, merrily, for life is but a dream.
It’s not even easy for Christ to compete with Christians! It’s not easy at all. It’s not easy to convince parents that their child’s first communion outfit is not as important as the Eucharist. It’s not easy to convince brides and grooms that their vows are more important than their reception! It’s not easy at all. Even baptisms have become a very expensive affair. It seems to me the only sacrament that has not yet been commercialized (and therefore is not in high demand) is the Sacrament of Confession. Yes, humility is not very stylish. Remorse is not something you can wear. Gossip Girls sells better than silence and contrition. How can you commercialize that? After all, for a child’s first Holy Communion, you can publicize it by dressing them up for it. The same goes for baptism and marriage. But how many kids do you know wear their “First Reconciliation” outfit? How many parties have you attended to celebrate First Confession? That’s okay. That's actually very good and I prefer it that way. But no wonder it’s hard to get children and parents to go to confession. We need to do a market study on it (Just kidding).
What can we do? Simple things. Nothing complicated. For example, set up a nativity scene outside your home. Put Christ in the center and Frosty and Rudolph on the side. Wouldn’t it be beautiful if all Christians, one way or another, identified themselves with the season?
Greet people by saying “Merry Christmas” or “Hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family”. Refuse to waste hours and hours a day shopping. Buy simple gifts this Christmas. Give holy cards to children. Make room for the marginalized. Let your children and grandchildren remember how you never commercialized the Holy Days. Don’t ever feel guilty about that. Don’t let a secularist or atheist or opportunist manipulate you or the season. Don’t let their religion (shopping and money) become your religion.
Finally, read to your children true and authentic Christmas stories. Watch movies that are rich in virtue, respectful of family and faith filled with the Christmas spirit. Not the sacrilegious and dehumanizing anti-family, anti-faith and anti-virtue movies that seem to pop up between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Let’s keep Christ in Christmas and the beauty and sweetness of God and life from ever becoming spoiled, rotten and sour.