It’s my experience during each Christmas season to hear a priest sermonize about how commercial Christmas has become. This sermon is so redundant that I don’t link it to any singular priest: it’s as if the statement is automatically printed out and presented by that year’s Christmas mass celebrator. “We’ve lost the true meaning and message of Christmas,” it says. We’re reminded that Christmas isn’t about acquiring the latest electronic gifts for our kids, nor is it about receiving gifts for ourselves. It is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and acting with love towards our fellow man. We need to straighten up, remember its true meaning.
It was a surprise then to hear a Christmas sermon a few years’ back when an elderly priest looked up at all in attendance and told us how “great” we were. He said that when we search for those certain gifts that make our kids smile, when we hold gatherings for relatives and friends, make tasty foods and hang pretty lights and decorations, when we engage – sometimes painfully – with crowds and the commercialism that takes the season over each year, we are acting out the spirit of Christmas. He said that Jesus knew we were loving the best way we knew how. He was giving us an unexpected, but appreciated, acknowledgement of our good work.