Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Superficial or Sacramental?

Wow! December already! Advent already! Christmas is just around the corner!

I've been thinking about what Fr. Y had said in his sermon, about not getting caught up in the distractions that are our usual pre-Christmas preparations. Advent is a time of holy waiting. It's a time of waiting for the Holy. But all too often, we are bombarded with messages, commercial and non-commercial that distract us from the holy. An obvious commercial distraction is the focus on buying gifts. I heard a news story recently that made it sound like people refusing to max out their credit cards was a bad thing. Huh?

Non-commercial distractions are focusing on decorating the house, getting the Christmas cards sent, or cooking the perfect meal. Not that these are bad things, but they need to be put into perspective. All those are way lower in priority than the Incarnation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The definition of a "sacrament" is "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." So, I'm looking at all these things I do to get ready for Christmas, the spiritual and temporal alike and wondering, how can I do them in such a way that they are an outward and visible sign of my inward and spiritual preparation for the observance of Christ's birth?

First, I intend to do only those things that are most meaningful to me in a spiritual sense. Decorating the house to a certain extent is important because I want S, my two-year-old grandson, to learn about Christmas. He can point to Baby Jesus in our Nativity Set, and will learn more as the days lead to Christmas. Cards, gifts and meals are important in that it shows my love and care for my brothers and sisters in Christ. The thing here is not to let the activities become the end. They are only indicators of my love for Christ.

Also, I intend to adopt some Advent disciplines. Disciplines are usually associated with Lent, but I want to use my Advent time wisely. I am going to incorporate more Scripture reading and intentional prayer into my daily life. I am considering reading a Bible chapter each day. I think I'll start with the Gospel of John. I don't quite know why, but it just feels right.

I wanted to get this out before I forgot too many things, but it's late now, so I am going to bed.

Good night and blessings to you!


JesusFreak71962 said...

It's so weird that so many people are separated by religion...The funny thing is that Jesus is not about religion. He is about a relationship between him and you(Me). This time of year we celebrate His birth. We celebrate the fact that he loved us so much that he was willing to leave his place in Heaven and become flesh, and be among us, his creation. He gave up everything to have a relationship with you and me. Remember when you first fell in love with your spouse? Everything you did, you had your spouse constantly in your thoughts. Your spouse was a major part of every decision. This is the "First Love" Jesus spoke of in Revelation. We can't help but do for him. This, some people call works. Jesus calls it Love. What you do for the least of these, you do to me, is what Jesus tells us. This is why we help the helpless, and defend the defenceless. Those who have nothing, we give. Not because we are earning brownie points, but because Jesus love each of these people more than anyone else could ever love them. Our love should POUR out of us like a compulsion. Nothing seems to be right in us unless we do something. This season should be about loosing ourselves and finding Christ in others. There are elderly, Homeless, orphans, sick and lonely people who need Jesus. Christmas is the season where the Suicide rate goes through the roof. Why? People don't know Jesus. Knowing about him isn't enough. Satan knows about him, and has even seen, and spoken to him face to face, but it does him no good. People need to have that relationship. It is the only thing that could give us hope. Hope to make it through the lonely times. Hope to make it when our spouses don't understand us. Hope to give us that lifeline for when we loose everything. The world is an ugly place and getting uglier by the day. (Just Watch the News) Jesus is the only safe harbor in a storm. This season, I celebrate Jesus for everything he is.
Happy Birthday Jesus!

Erlinda said...

What can I say but "Amen!"?

Thanks so much for reading and for the feedback.