Pause during holiday hustle for true meaning of Christmas

By Megan Erbacher

The Message assistant editor

We’re 12 days away from Christmas. How is that possible?! Are your decorations up? Have you bought all of the gifts for your loved ones? Are they wrapped and nestled safely under the tree? Do you have your holiday outfit picked out? Are the plans set?

Whew, wait for a second; we’re missing something very important. The whole reason for the season: Jesus.

Yes, the ‘reason for the season’ phrase can often feel overused, but it points out the obvious and reminds us of what we should actually be focused on. In the hustle and bustle of the holiday, let’s pause and take time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas during this season of Advent, which is to celebrate the birth of Jesus and look forward to his Second coming.

In a recent Sunday bulletin for Holy Name Parish in Bloomfield and St. Peter Parish in Linton, Father Biju Thomas, who serves as administrator of the two parishes, wrote that Advent is a “time of looking both backward and forward. We look backward as we prepare to celebrate the historical birth of Jesus. At the same time, we look forward to his Second coming as we prepare ourselves to welcome him into all areas of our lives during the advent season.”

The traditional signs of Advent have been visible in church for a few weeks now and include the violet vestments and advent wreath. These signs, Father Thomas wrote, “remind us that we are waiting for the rebirth of Jesus in our hearts and lives in love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness.”

As we wait for Jesus’ second coming, are we living our lives decently in a way that is worthy of salvation?

The expectations that often come with the holidays can be overwhelming, and it gets stressful for everyone. In the last couple of weeks of Advent, maybe we can all try our best to offer a little compassion to each other. Simple acts of kindness cost you nothing and can mean the world to someone else.

In your mad dash to get the last gift or forgotten ingredient for the Christmas pie, let the driver next to you into your traffic lane. Driving is already difficult enough; and being rude doesn’t benefit anyone, so just let someone in.

While you’re out shopping, practice some patience with the overworked store clerk.

If you disagree with family members, try to fight fairly and politely over holiday dinner.

The holidays can be tough and lonely for some people, so let’s remember to just be kind and share a smile with a stranger.

This Advent, as we wait in joy-filled hope for the coming of our Lord, let’s slow down a bit and focus on time spent with friends and family instead of the gifts. When I recall past Christmases it’s not the presents I most cherish, it’s the love shared and memories made with my favorite people that I always recall.

Sure, we can enjoy the Christmas parties, cookie decorating and gift-giving, but during all of it always keep in mind the reason for the holiday magic: Jesus.

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11).