Saturday, December 20, 2008

Is Christmas a religious holiday, or has it become merely a cultural tradition?

In 1223, St. Francis of Assisi simply and joyfully commemorated the scene of the Nativity, and the crib thus became one of the traditional and best-loved symbols of Christmas. In the crib, we contemplate the One who stripped Himself of divine glory in order to become poor, driven by love for mankind. Beside the crib, the Christmas tree, with its twinkling lights, reminds us that with the birth of Jesus, the tree of life has blossomed anew in the desert of humanity. The crib and the tree: precious symbols, which hand down in time the true meaning of Christmas!

Today, however, amid a politically correct and consumerist Christmas attitude, we are allowing ourselves to be stripped of our traditions — the dearest and most venerable, the oldest and sweetest, the truest and most beautiful — so that carelessly, through neglect, we are abandoning Christ to follow the latest futile fad.

A sensitive Christian would not let anything replace the crib and the Christmas tree. Commemorating these means passing on the history of popular piety and religiosity. Putting up the crib and the Christmas tree in homes and public places — not in a folkloric manner but as symbols of faith, prayer and offering — means rediscovering joy and the solidarity of friendship, the human tenderness of relations and the piety of souls of enchanted children and adults.

In advancement of faith, family and fraternity, may we all strive to keep Christ in Christmas. Merry Christmas, everyone.


Hamilton, Ontario

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