Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love it because it’s a season, not just a day—and it gives us all an opportunity to remember what’s important in life.
I think we’ve all noticed the way people brighten in December. I think it’s hard to ignore people donating to the Salvation Army outside of the grocery store; how our offices host food drives and local schools; how our churches gather extra donations for local families in need.
On the one hand, it’s true that we should behave this way all year long—we should always be thinking of our neighbors first. On the other hand, we are imperfect. And the fact that a society so proud of its secularism still recognizes this season as a time of authenticity and selflessness is a reassuring one.
I love the nativities everywhere I look. I love the glimmering trees in big bay windows, the lights on gables and doorways, the jingle of bells. I’m not a fan of kitschy Christmas music, but I love the fact that the radio is full of it—and that so many people out there love it.
I love that everyone I love wants to be near me—and our whole family—during the Christmas season. Above all, I love that this is a time when those who feel generally uncompelled to visit the Church are called to join in Her celebration.
Half of the battle is won in Christmas: people know that there is a cause to be championed and a world to be loved. The rest of it is won in each one of us.
To help you fight the battle, I’d like to share this story adapted from our Christmas homily this year.
One morning, Mary went to her husband, Joseph, and told him a story. “I had a strange dream last night,” she said, with a faraway look in her eyes. “There were people all over the world celebrating our son’s birthday. They smiled and laughed and shared stories. They made feasts and shared sweets and enjoyed each other’s company.
“But before that,” she said, “they spent weeks shopping—spending so much money—for trinkets and toys. They worried over bills and travel and legers. They compared presents and goals and boasted long lists of gifts for strangers. They counted values and wrote them down for next time. They decorated big trees and big houses with lavish things.
“On our son’s birthday, Joseph, they all gathered around those trees, in those houses, and they exchanged gifts. They gave each other these presents, big and small, and rejoiced in receiving their own—but not a single one brought gifts for our son. On his birthday, Joseph, our son received nothing—he wasn’t even invited to the party.”