In the New Testament of the Bible, we are introduced to a God that is quite unlike the God that is described in the Old Testament. While in the Old Testament, God is one who punishes his people for sin: sending things such as plagues as well as devastation to his people, in the New Testament, God is one of Love. He does not punish his people, rather he implores them to have faith within him: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). In the New Testament, God’s request for faith is justified by his sacrifice of sending down his only son, Jesus Christ, to us, who through God, subsequently allowed humanity to be saved through selflessly sacrificing himself on the cross. His sacrifice began on December 25: the day of birth of Jesus Christ, what we now call Christmas day.
However, today, as the Christmas season is among us, it seems as though the Catholic Church’s interaction with society has created a culture of misplaced faith: we have watered down the grand sacrifices that the Lord bestowed upon himself as well as his son, Jesus Christ, in order to save humanity. We have somewhat lost sight of the fact that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, who is the reason why we are all here today, and gives us reason to have faith in the Lord. Despite campaigns such as “Keep Christ in Christmas.” there is no way to avoid the complete commercialization of the Christmas season that surrounds “Santa Claus,” “elf’s” and “reindeer”.
There is no doubt that these traditions which bring the anticipation of Christmas morning are beautiful, (in fact they comprise of some of the fondest moments of my childhood,) but they have also muddied what Christmas is all about. Instead of wishing for faith in God, the ultimate gift, we have faith in Santa Claus, that he will give us everything we asked for on our Christmas list. Most times, we don’t act in a holy or religious way because we know God is looking down upon us, and because we are hoping to increase our faith in the Lord, but rather because we think the Elf on the Shelf might tell Santa Claus that we should be placed on the naughty list. Subsequently, in misplacing our faith, we blur the reason that God is asking us to have this faith in the first place: his sacrifice.
So, as we celebrate Christmas this year, let us realize the true reason of the season. Christmas provides us with the ability to wish and search for faith; a gift that outstands the test of time.
As this blog comes to a close, I just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Take a moment to slow down, and genuinely enjoy this time with family and dear friends.