Sunday, January 6, 2013

Not the end of Christmas

Today we celebrate the Epiphany, literally "manifestation"of Christ to the world, represented by the three Magi. What many Catholics still do not seem to get is that in our present calendar it is not the end of the Christmas Season. There is still another full week of Christmas. The Christmas season ends when we celebrate the beginning of Jesus's ministry,the Baptism of The Lord.

Why are we in such a hurry to be rid of Christmas? I went out on the 27th and the stores were already taking down Christmas and putting up Valentine's Day. Even among Catholics many will be packing up the decorations this afternoon.

Part of the problem of course is that at least in the US we let the stores dictate the season. Christmas begins even before Thanksgiving, and except for the wreath Advent is all but forgotten. Add to this the drowning in Christmas music and the unrealistic expectations of joy and parties, and by the 26th people are physically and emotional exhausted.

Perhaps it is good we pack away the trees,and the lights, and the carols (particularly the ones with no mention of Jesus). Perhaps it is a good thing that the stores and TV have by Dec 26 already abandoned Christmas.

Perhaps in these last seven days of Christmas between today and next Sunday, without all the noise and lights, we Christians can turn our hearts toward the true purpose of Christmas, and reflect on our faith in a God who so loves us that he chose to become incarnate to bring salvation, and not simply for one "chosen people" but to every single nation on earth. With secular Christmas over, let us celebrate real Christmas, giving Glory to God in the highest, and truly wishing peace to all people of good will.

PS. And let's not be so quick to judge the will of others.