Secular society has created an expectation around these days. This includes, but is not limited to, parties, gift giving, more parties, and simply socializing in one setting after another. Did I mention parties? I am not anti-party, but I fully recognize that it takes a toll on introverts to go from one social activity to another. Quite frankly, it is exhausting. This type of frenetic activity may energize the extroverts among us, but those of us on the other end of the spectrum experience this scenario in a completely different manner.
These days can also be difficult for those who are struggling in one way or another. Maybe you are celebrating Christmas this year for the first time without a special someone due to a death in the family or a broken relationship. The sadness can be overwhelming when we focus on the loss, but it can be extremely healing when we focus on the love and compassion of Christ. Some relatives and friends may be out of town, others may be confined to a hospital bed or nursing home. Bottom line, may we experience the presence of Christ in one another even if we are physically unable to be together. My hope is that we are able to find joy, peace, and contentment amid the hurt and pain.
In the midst of the flurry of activity I am grateful for the peace I find in the celebration of the Eucharist on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Midnight Mass is especially conducive to experience this peace, although it gets tougher and tougher as I get older to go out of the house at that time of night for anything. Once in church the sacred beckons. The decorations, the music, and the overall atmosphere lifts our minds and hearts to God. There is heavenly peace--at least for this moment in time. What a tremendous blessing to gather as a community of believers to celebrate Christmas. In that setting I am much closer to feeling like "Mr. Christmas."
"Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me." Merry Christmas!