Christmas Week: A Time to Let Go...A Time to Let God
Dec 27, 2017
As I was growing up, I was an avid hockey fan. Every Saturday night was Hockey Night in Canada. Living in Detroit, we had ready access to Canadian radio and television stations. Each Sat. evening, the Toronto Maple Leafs hosted a game at Maple Leaf Gardens. A certain oil refinery that had gasoline stations all across Canada sponsored the weekly Hockey Night in Canada games. An attractive feature to me and to many others is that each year, on the Saturday evening closest to Christmas, the games were broadcasted and televised commercial free. The oil company provided this annual custom as a gift for their many loyal customers. This had to be costly, especially because was the only night during the week on which this oil company could advertise its products. Research shows that even when well-known companies fail to continue to advertise, their sales fall. And yet, to this day, ESSO gas stations continue to thrive and multiply all across Canada. Over the years, a number of other refineries have folded.
Obviously, this custom and its impact have stuck with me over the years. It has given me the courage to express that hopefully, Christmas week is a time for letting go of and stepping back from activities and programs that normally consume so much of our time and energy during the rest of the year. By doing this, we are opening ourselves to appreciate the bigger setting within which we all live. Christmas reminds us that each of us is a whole lot more than the sum total of all that we do. How we function and all that we accomplish have their proper place, hopefully as an on-going loving response to the awareness of Whose we are.
Making time and room for an extended celebration of our Savior’s Birth can remind us that we have a destiny that goes far beyond survival, or striving to eke out an existence in this world. The Birth of our Savior sets us free to pray and to work with one another in the Lord’s Name to make this world a more caring, loving, just and peaceful setting in which all can reside in preparation for that fullness of life for which Christ has come to redeem us and for which all people yearn.
Perhaps more than at any other time of the year, people are open to let God into our lives and into the life of the world. One reason for saying this is that like other special observances, Christmas is a Holy Day of Obligation. With the other special Holy Days of Obligation, many persons need to be reminded that participating at Mass on these occasions is as important as is coming to Mass each weekend. This reminder does not need to be made in regard to coming to Mass for Christmas. People beat down the doors to come to Mass. The parish center is flooded with inquiries about the Mass schedule for Christmas.
If only this spirit that leads countless numbers of persons to want to come to Mass at Christmas time would remain, think of the impact that this could have upon activities and events in the world as a whole! For all who are open and willing to receive Him, the Spirit Who leads us to want to come to Mass on Christmas would lead us to want to participate at Mass faithfully (weekly) during the rest of the year as well.
We can’t control how other persons will respond to the Lord’s standing invitation to celebrate His love and to grow into this love that we gather to celebrate, but we can respond each day ourselves to the invitation to become what we celebrate. As we strive to do this, we will grow in the awareness that we do make a difference for the Lord in each of the settings in which we find ourselves with others. This will lead to a sense of peace and joy that would remain with us at all times of the year. Have a Blessed Christmas!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor