Month: October 2016

Merry Christmas…?

Is it Christmas already? Did I miss a whole season? Oh wait, that’s right it’s just commercialism at its worse. Don’t fall into the trap!

It seems to start sooner and sooner, before Easter is even over it’s time to pick your Christmas tree with the perfect garland. Okay, I might be exaggerating just a bit but you get the point. Christmas decorations are being put out sooner and sooner it seems, which diminishes how people see the importance of the holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I’m into the cheesy Hallmark movies and the glittery decorations but I understand what the purpose of the holiday is along with why it is important. I also don’t look at Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving.

It isn’t just Santa coming down the chimney with a sack full of toys, in fact that doesn’t have anything to do with the season at all. Although it has been brought into the fold and has taken an alarming center stage of what people perceive the season to  be, it really has no place. Saint Nicholas is a real saint who accomplished so much more then what is being perceived in the now jolly Santa Clause. His parents died when he was a young boy but left him with a huge inheritance and an even greater Catholic faith. He took the money from the inheritance and helped the sick, poor and dying. To take a Saint who truly lived what Christ teaches and dedicated his life to the service of the poor, and turn him into a commercialized version that can appeal to atheists is something that just doesn’t sit well with me. Now, I love the jolly old Saint Nick and I grew up in a winter wonderland. When I was a child my parents would go all out with the Christmas decorations. We would have all these cool different scenes set up and it was truly special; but I still knew what the season was and why it was important.

Jesus was born in a manger because there was no room for the Holy Family in the inn. Jesus is not allowed to be celebrated during Christmas because there is no room for Him in homes. Think about it, we can’t say Merry Christmas (I say it anyways) and we can’t put Nativities out to celebrate His birth. The majority of Christmas decorations involve Santa Clause, little elves and goofy reindeer. And so much money goes into commercialism and Jesus was born into poverty. There’s all these opposites that are seen from what Christmas was, to what it has become.

Keep this in mind as you walk through the store and see Christmas decorations galore. To look or not to look, that is the question. Or is it? Should it even be a question? Don’t look! I made a promise to Jesus that I wouldn’t look at Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving. Is it hard? Yes! I LOVE Christmas, I love the feeling that the blessed season has on people because it brings about a feeling of peace and unity. It is quite beautiful because whether people want to believe it or not, it is Jesus that causes this feeling because it is the season of His birth.

Dear Jesus,

Help me to speak out against the injustice being brought against you,

People have tried to diminish the importance of your birth.

Give me the strength to stand up against those who hurt you,

And those who don’t have you in those life.

Give me the courage to spread the importance of your message,

To stand up against the hate that is evident in today’s society.

Amen

Advertisements

Fear Not

i-walk-through-the-valley-of-the-shadow-of-death-36-728

A new band called We Are Messengers inspired this blog post. I was listening to their album when some of the lyrics really stuck out to me – I see that love is a man hanging on a tree, With his heart poured out for me, Love is a king watching over me, And when I look up, He’s all I see, So when I walk through the valley I will not be afraid.

If you just stop and soak up what the words mean then it is truly invigorating. Jesus, fully God and Fully man died for us by hanging on a tree. Think about it, how truly painful it must have been to be nailed to a tree and beaten just minutes prior. To be spit upon and taunted relentlessly only to meet your end through being nailed to a tree and slowly bleeding out, waiting until you suffocate for the pain to go away.

He knew everything that was going to happen and exactly how painful it was going to be. In this life we go through trials and hard times but our faith should help us get through. Jesus Himself tells us that times in this world will not be easy because we are not living for this world but for the next. If life were easy in this world then what will be gained for the next? We use our sufferings to save souls for the Glory of God. Through our suffering, if we keep our faith, then we will be made stronger.

Today’s society has a problem with instant gratification and expecting immediate results. This is why many are disheartened when the prayers they want answered, are not answered in the way they want. God knows what is best for us but we have to trust that God knows what is best for us. God always answers our prayers but it is up to us to listen and to see what the answer is.

We so often forget that not only did Jesus die for us but that He suffered for our sins to be forgiven – which is exactly what is conveyed in the song. This isn’t an automatic path to redemption as many of the Protestants think. Instead, it is a journey and a continuous process of acknowledging the wrongs that are committed and seeking forgiveness. Acknowledgement is a huge part of the Catholic faith and being a follower of Jesus. It is through acknowledging what we have done wrong that we can truly find forgiveness and redemption. The sacrifice that Jesus made was not a free pass for getting away with whatever you want but rather it was a new chance to find forgiveness.

We walk through a valley every day when we are followers of Christ. Today’s world is a dangerous one that needs the word of God even more now. We can’t and shouldn’t be afraid to spread His message, to spread His Glory. Even if we are harassed and treated poorly we shouldn’t be afraid because God is always with us.

Dear God,

You gave your Son so that we could spend eternity with you,

Help me to appreciate the sacrifice,

To live my life for the glory of You.

Give me the strength to spread Your message through the land,

To help others understand Your Word.

Amen