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Editorial: Let us not forget the ‘reason for the season’
About politics and other thingsDecember 11, 2013 | 1,491 views | Post a comment
Considering all the messages and signs in retail stores, on television, and in newspapers, one would think that Christmas is for shopping, overeating -- and -- parties! If there is one more Christmas party that one more organization plans, I think I will retreat to a nice quiet little cave somewhere.
Why does every organization think they have to throw its very own Christmas party? I can forgive the little office party, because we do spend a lot of time with the folks at the office. In fact, we probably spend more time with the office family than we do with our own family.
Don’t get me wrong. I love holiday entertaining, but too much of a good thing is not good. I would prefer some free time, and there is none. With all the timesaving gadgets and inventions today, we should have more free time, but the opposite is true. Time flies. It’s frightening to hear that even little first-graders think that the school year is going by so fast. I can remember that as an elementary school student, the school year seemed endless, and Christmas was forever away. Not so with kids today.
Because people have so many devices today, they try to combine more tasks into the same time and space. Have you ever been in a board meeting and observed how many people are texting while (or instead of) listening to the speaker? Watch people walking down the sidewalks and many are not even engaged in a conversation with each other. Rather, they are likely to be involved in texting or a conversation with someone else. It’s the same in grocery stores and even in restaurants. Manners are out the door.
And so it is with Christmas. We never think there is enough time, because we fill it with more tasks, more goodies, more parties. We overfill our “spare” time with shopping, cooking, and more partying. The more we have, the more we want; the more we do, the more we want to do.
To oblige, retailers add more hours to satisfy that urge for more. Even before Thanksgiving, stores were opening earlier and staying open later in an effort to lure in more customers.
But there should be more to Christmas than shopping and parties.
If you were like my friend Jack, you would find a way around all the hustle and bustle. “We celebrate each day for just being alive,” he says, giving thanks to God for another day. Or, as my friend Harry says, “It’s another day in paradise.” Rather than make any single day more special than another, some people simply celebrate each and every day as a gift from God and for how special it is.
That is a good way to avoid the stress of shopping, eating, and other things that have nothing to do with the “reason or the season.”
There is a reason that we celebrate. On this second week of Advent, we pray:
O God Who is source of all that we need, we yearn for union with You in the symbols that our tradition displays for us in our Christian culture. There are many commercial symbols that flood our attention and would seduce us to believe that therein we can be fulfilled. We need to keep our distance from them even as we use them. Help us to see all the distractions of this season as yearnings, however imperfect, for You Who are the source of all that we need. Amen.
-- Fr. John P. Martin, M.M. (From Maryknoll’s Journey of Faith)
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