Editorial | Let the season continue

Debbie Hill | Catholic News Service

Four weeks of Advent are followed by Christmas Day and the beginning of the true Christmas season.

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson has written that "people go from celebration to celebration — Christmas to the Super Bowl to Valentine's Day to March Madness to Easter to baseball season. There's a lot to celebrate, but something about it seems frantic — and frantic isn't a fruit of God's presence. Preparations begin so early, but when the anticipated event arrives it never satisfies for very long — and shallow satisfaction isn't a fruit of God's presence."

Take a deep breath. And let the Christmas season continue.

Christmas is one of the most important days of the Church year, second only to Easter. It is the feast of the incarnation, the feast of God becoming flesh. It is a uniquely Christian teaching, the Divine choosing to become one of us. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops points out that every Eucharist is like Christmas, where the bread and wine are transformed into His flesh, His Body and Blood, and, in a sense, He is born anew on the altar.

"During this season, we celebrate the birth of Christ into our world and into our hearts, and reflect on the gift of salvation that is born with Him ... including the fact that He was born to die for us," the bishops' conference explains.

In his Christmas message, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, asks people to reflect upon how they can give of themselves in the new year. He asks people to greet one another in love and charity, embracing civility and not letting our differences hide the dignity and beauty God has given each of us as His children.

Retired Pope Benedict XVI once said the fact that Christian joy remains despite sorrow and struggle can be seen in the life of St. Teresa of Kolkata, who had long periods of feeling that God had abandoned her, but she continued to smile and to take God's love to the poor and the dying.

"Yes, joy enters the hearts of those who place themselves at the service of the small and the poor. In those who love that way, God takes up residence and the soul rejoices," he said.

We can do that. Yes we can. 

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