SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
Most of us can remember when people used to wait until after Thanksgiving to prepare for Christmas. Now the stores begin preparing right after Halloween or even before. Many remember too that Advent was a time to do penance or give up things to prepare for Jesus’ birth. Often people went to Confession during Advent in order to prepare ourselves better spiritually for the celebration to come.
Our world is so different today, many people get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. They line up all of the tasks that they have to complete before December 25th. It is not politically correct anymore to simply wish someone a Merry Christmas, it may be offensive. Christmas creches and scenes of the Birth are not allowed in the public “square”. If Christ plays any part in our “holiday” preparations, that part is for too many minimal.
The real spiritual meaning of Christ’s birth can come to us only through prayer and reflection. Yes. We have many tasks to accomplish, but unless we stop, and take time for prayer and reflection, we spend our energy in vain, for we will never experience the true joy of Christmas. We need to focus on the reality that Jesus came down to us for one reason, that we might share in “the newness of life”. Missing that point, means we will miss the opportunity to be enriched spiritually by the grace of His coming to us, and be opened up more fully to God’s Love.
Jesus tells us “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all other things will be given unto you”.
May the season of Advent be for all of us a time when we seek God’s kingdom and God’s holiness, so that the Celebration of Christmas may be a celebration of joy and hope and of God’s love for each and every one of us.
Fr. Peter Pagones