December 25. One of my favorite days of the year. Yeah, yeah, almost everyone loves Christmas. I hear you. What’s not to love? Sparkling lights, Christmas trees, Christmas stockings, Christmas cookies — the list goes on and on. And who doesn’t like presents? No one.
Christmas is about family. Gathering together to celebrate the holiday and the family. Mary, Joseph and their tiny baby, Jesus huddled together in a stable. Now each year we travel near and far to be with the people we love and care about during this special time.
Christmas is about children. Santa Claus, his elves, and that crazy red-nosed reindeer were the subject of stories, cartoons, and some pretty terrible photos with Santa. Don’t even say you didn’t have certain Christmas programs you couldn’t miss — Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (to name a few). Parents wrap gifts on the sly while the kiddos are asleep. Most parents have experienced the early, early A.M. construction of a bike or a wagon. It’s followed by two hours of sleep because the kids are up at 5 A.M.
Christmas is about doing good works for others less fortunate than ourselves. Donations to Toys for Tots and food pantries are synonymous with the season. Inviting people to your celebration who would otherwise spend it alone with a microwave dinner. It should be a time of peace and harmony.
Christmas is about our spirit, our soul, and our faith. A Midnight Mass with the church packed full of the faithful singing the beautiful hymns and carols with real joy. It’s standing in the cold night outside of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome waiting to go inside to Midnight Mass with the Pope. A couple of voices join together singing a carol to pass the time. Before long, a diverse group of people from my different countries add their voices to the song. This memory from twenty-five years ago can still make me cry with the beauty of humanity.
I wish you a joyful, peaceful holiday where love is the order of the day.
And, I pray for compassion and kindness in abundance this day and every day.