Christmas break is a special and unique time together. College students return home, husbands take off work, and the grandparents come to town. We are reunited with those who complete our lives, and this reunion creates the atmosphere of our Christmas memories.
If you are like me, you may now be in mourning for the culmination of this heartwarming time of the year. For during Christmas, we can truly say that we spend time together with our families. As a result, we grow in love for one another. Perhaps we are spoiled a bit, but it can also bring out the best in our relationships.
While there may be disagreements and trying moments, overall we realize how much we enjoy being together and sharing the days unburdened with the distraction of work. We are given these moments—hours, days, and weeks—to discover one another again, and to be drawn together in a renewed interest and deeper understanding of the other persons with whom we share our life. During the Christmas season, we experience family life as it is meant to be lived—together, and joyfully.
We see each other more, and this allows us to truly “see” again the spouse with whom we fell in love. We also watch our children interacting with family members, and are amazed at them, in awe at their cuteness and lovability, which is sometimes lost on us in the day to day.
During Christmas, we learn how to celebrate. Our celebration has meaning, and it is filled with joy because we celebrate the birth of Christ, not just the end of a work week. We love having a reason to celebrate, and God wants us to soak it in. We give with generosity, and we enjoy the giving. We may enjoy receiving as well, but the deeper joy is found in freely giving.
Because we see the beauty in the life around us, we are drawn to gratitude. We yearn to hold on to Christmas, to the renewed sense of love and generosity which we have experienced. We implore God with this call: stay with us, Lord. We repeat this invitation to our spouse, and to our families: stay with us… how good it is to be together. How much more joyful life is when shared fully with another.
Then we go back to our normal day to day and work lives, and we experience both gratitude and sorrow. It is difficult to let go of this celebration of Christmas. For indeed, we are not supposed to let it go. The circumstances may change, yes, but in our hearts we are invited to relive the message of Christ’s birth each day of our lives. When we give thanks for the good and beautiful moments that we have enjoyed, the gratitude of our hearts makes these memories endure.
As Christians, every day is really Christmas, because we can come to the altar of the Eucharist and worship the King, as the shepherds did. We come for a sacrifice to be offered—the sacrifice of God’s Son, born to us in a manger.
As the song goes, there is a time and season for everything. A time for joy and laughter, tears and sorrow. Our faith teaches us to believe that there is purpose and joy to be found in mundane tasks and everyday life. If there was not a purpose, wouldn’t we all give in to despair? When we deny ourselves continual ease and delight, we more fully learn how to celebrate. Those who have suffered most truly know how to rejoice.
God calls us to perseverance, and He promises that we will enjoy the feast all the more fully after we have fasted. The ordinary days may feel like a fast, and sometimes they are in more ways than one. But they are packed full of deeper meaning which will be uncovered only at the Eternal Feast.
May we give thanks for the Christmas memories that we have created, and look to tomorrow with renewed hope.
Christmas Family © Family Veldman / Dollar Photo Club