For church members, the Christmas season begins on Christmas Eve and ends with the Baptism of Jesus.
The commercial Christmas begins whenever the merchants can get us to buy something.
Christmas is a time of gift giving.
What we celebrate at Christmas is God sharing Life with us. All else fades in comparison. Let us always say “thank you” for God’s Gifts to us.
Christmas is our celebration of God’s entering into our lives in the person of Jesus.
It is awesome.
Let us spend time in wonder at our God who loved us so much that he was willing to be born in an animal shelter.
A very creative candy maker, wishing to make a candy that would be symbolic of Christmas, came up with the idea of the popular “Christmas candy cane.” There are many symbols contained in this candy cane. The candy is extremely hard and white in color. The white is symbolic of the virgin birth and the sinless nature of Jesus.
The hard texture represents the solid rock foundation on which Jesus built his church. The shape of the candy was made in the form a “J,” representing the name of Jesus. Turned upside down, it reminds us of the staff of the “Good Shepherd.”
By design, one large and three small red stripes color the pure white “J.” The larger red strip represents the blood of Christ shed on the cross so that those who follow Jesus and make his teachings part of their lives should have everlasting life.
The three small stripes represent the Primary Community of Love we call the Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
While the Christmas candy cane has lost its meaning for some, for those who believe, it a reminder of the deeper aspects of Christmas.
I would like to close with Father John Powell’s Christmas message from several years ago.
“Scientists studied 100 persons who were considered very successful in their personal and professional lives. They fed all available information on these people into a computer to find out what all of them might have in common.
What is the common denominator of human success? They ruled out education and environment. Most of them (70 percent) did come from small towns with a population of fewer than 15,000 people.
Finally, however, they discovered a universal quality: Every one of these highly successful people was beyond doubt – a ‘good finder.’
“By definition, ‘good finders’ are persons who look for and find what is good – in themselves, in others and in all the situations of life. Good finders are actively aware that God who is might has done uniquely beautiful things in themselves.
Good finders look for and find what is good in others, and vocally affirm these others. Good finders are explicitly and gratefully appreciative of the goodness and giftedness in others.
Finally, good finders look for what is good in all the situations of life. Good finders know the best blessings usually come into our lives disguised as problems. Good finders know that there is a promise in every problem, a rainbow after every storm, a warmth in every winter. “God is the original good finder. Once he looked upon a cold and cruel world, where gladiators entertained others by killing one another.
Two thirds of all people lived in dehumanizing slavery. God’s reaction was to send his only begotten Son into this world not to condemn it, but to love it into life.”
May God’s Son whose birthday we celebrate, help us to be a good finder.
Like Mary, let us ponder God’s goodness and treasure the good things with which God blesses us, so that we in turn may be a sign God’s love for others.