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Christmas

Put the Mass back into Christmas

Christmas

The “Put Christ into Christmas”, “Keep Christ in Christmas” banners, stickers, buttons are wrong.

You cannot keep Christ out of Christmas.

Christ is there in the hustle and bustle. Christ is there amongst the ring of the cash registers, the terrible piped music, the stress, the good-wishes, the sending of cards, family tensions, and exchange of presents. Christ is there on the beach, in the holidays, even in the bleak Northern Hemisphere midwinter.

Our task is not to bring Christ to where he is not. Our task is to recognise where Christ is. To point to where Christ is. To worship Christ. Our task is not to put Christ back into Christmas; our task is to put the Mass back into Christmass.

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6 thoughts on “Put the Mass back into Christmas”

  1. To be a little more proactive you can do this literally not just figuratively speaking which I know is what you’re suggesting and advising. Instead of idolising every new and latest material obsession at the pre-Christmas sales ignore it and save your money to give to your local Catholic church. Give up your need for illusionary wealth and decide that only God has the ability to give you true riches. Channel the greediness of receiving gifts into the giving out of your time and money to the homeless sleeping on the hard concrete outside your door. And if you have any avarice left inside you go to your local church and give it a try. It may save your life as Jesus wanted for all of us and bring back the love that His birth brought into this world.

  2. Agreed entirely, though I like the recent Episcopal Church meme, “Dear God, help me worry less about putting the Christ back into Christmas and more about putting the Christ back into Christians.”

    Of course by your argument many Ians would benefit, but that may not be a fair extension of the reasoning!

  3. Well put, Bosco. And while we’re at it, we might also point out that many of those who slap that silly bumper sticker on their SUVs are really talking about the season of Advent, not Christmas.

  4. Let’s just hope, Bosco, that the clergy remember to preach the Good News of the Incarnation: that in Christ, God became fully human, thereby living in every one of us by divine intention; then that may make people reflect more upon the real meaning of this Advent/Christmas Season. ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come’.

    1. Combining two ideas… “may make people reflect more upon the real meaning of this Advent/Christmas Season…” and “…more proactive you can do this literally…”, I think it is important that we give the world a good example to take to heart. Yet the thought often associated with the Church is not “peace” but “disagreement”.

      When I think of the “Mass” being put back in Christmas (or Christians) I think of “coming together”. It is problematic to think of the “peace process” – of peace talks and peace meetings – as being only there to arrive at an agreement (and so a “waste of time” if an agreement does not result); the coming together itself has to be valued. I hope a proactive goal might be for us to come together this new church year – even (especially) if it is before recognising that an agreement is just around the corner. Just as Nelson Mandela has been an encouragement (and he was encouraged by others), I think the message we give to the world by reaching out to (and even finding something to appreciate in) those who annoy us is better than the message we send by a public war of words – let alone the more violent types of war that get in the way of the world believing.

      I do think Matthew 5:22ff isn’t saying “don’t bother to come to church until you have achieved perfect harmony with everyone else in the world”, but “what God wants of me is to make a reconcilliation a high priority”. We don’t actually have to bring about world peace for the world to sit up and see divine intention… it might be something as simple as as choosing not to trade insults. Even that is easier said than done, of course. In my case I can think of somebody here associated with the Canterbury earthquake rebuild, of whom I have a low opinion and have sometimes written letters to the local paper that vented some anger. I cannot imagine it would help meeting him, and I doubt he would even want to meet me. Maybe sending him a Christmas card? It may be a silly little example, but it reflects a lot of those difficulties everyone seems to have with reconcilliation in bigger issues. The answer has to be good role models, of hearing about small instances of reconcilliation that could apply to our own circumstances… which isn’t the same as making a show of listening simply to gain publicity of course, but every little coming together does matter more than might be apparent at the time.

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