Unless you’ve been keeping your Catholic head buried in the ground, you’re certainly aware of the efforts of bishops, pastors and catechists to educate the faithful on the fact that, according to the liturgical calendar, Christmas is a season that begins on the evening of December 24 and extends until the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord on the Sunday after January 6. I regard it as an opportunity to witness to the radical, counter-cultural nature of the gospel to do all I can to resist the secular agenda of beginning the “Christmas season” the day after Thanksgiving and ending the “Christmas season” on December 25. How disheartening to see so many Christmas trees placed out in front of houses ready to be picked up by waste management sometimes as early as the afternoon of Christmas Day.
Besides, if we ever needed the Christmas spirit of joy, hope, and salvation to extend beyond the Christmas morning present-opening ritual, we need it this year. It’s been a rough one, and it isn’t over yet. The bombing in Nashville on Christmas morning represents yet another blow to our national spirit that has suffered so much already.
Today, December 26, is the Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr of the Church, and a deacon. Take time today to read his story in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 6-7. St. Stephen imitated Jesus in giving all he had, even his own life, to preaching with courage and without compromise the good news of Jesus Christ. It is for all of us who claim Christ to do the same. This Christmas season, we can continue to proclaim the good news of Jesus’ birth by celebrating Christmas throughout the liturgical Christmas season.
So, keep your tree up. Keep your creche in place. Keep your wreaths hanging. Keep your candles lit. Keep saying, “Merry Christmas!” This broken world of ours is in sore need of Jesus. He has not given us His light to hide under a bushel. Let it shine for all to see!
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.