A remark this week from a good friend sparked my thoughts about Advent and our preparations for Christmas. He observed about how the prophesy about the end times is certainly happening when powerful and respected political leaders in the world try at every opportunity to dismantle our Catholic (moral) value system in the name of fairness, courage and inclusiveness, and that they do in the most presentable and slick manner that sounds utterly convincing.
There is no denying that the world has certainly changed. We live in the 21st century, “wake up please”. There are so many choices to choose from as to how we want to live our life. Liberal choices, conservative choices. It is certainly a long time ago when our Catholic value system was born into the world on that Christmas day in Bethlehem. Since then Man has certainly changed, but God hasn’t.
God’s love has remain a constant. He constantly calls out to us to watch where we are going, He is constantly reaching out to all people, to everyone; his love never conditional to the need to accept him first. He is constantly welcoming and never ever judgemental. And we know that He constantly forgives in an instant no matter how many instances we ask for forgiveness. All these haven’t changed.
Christmas is celebrated because a long time ago Man had experienced these to be real in their lives. Slick politicians too as governments they formed declared it a holiday. But like everything else, now we have a choice to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”. We even debate this.
We can be liberal or conservative but it’s an identity Man created. On that first Christmas day, God gave us an identity that hasn’t changed, that as a child of God. Man created a choice to be liberal or conservative and we spend time judging one another citing our personal rights and man-made laws. God gave us a free choice to live but with a guide to live a morally good life with the assurance that we won’t be judged until our personal end time. He only wants us to know that his love exists in our lives regardless of our identity as liberal or conservative. He says “stay awake, please” to his presence in our lives.
Celebrating Christmas is not a statement of the lifestyle we have chosen. It is not a platform to argue what is politically correct to say or not to say or how we should be greeting one another. Celebrating Christmas is not about being religious or not. Christmas Day is a day to remind ourselves that God exists.
We have come a long way in time. Once we were just enjoying the innocent fun of the existence of Santa Claus. Today we try to be ‘correct’ to disprove his existence. We would do well, courageous actually, to accept that Christmas is inclusive, because it happened for everyone regardless of our choices, regardless of our identities, regardless of whether we believe or not.
Do not place Christ beside Santa. Because over time God has constantly loved us as his children, unconditionally and freely regardless of whether we choose to accept or reject.
1st Sunday in Advent