It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so it’s been said.
You’ve probably heard that refrain more than a few times over the last several weeks. Or has it been more than a month since the inundation of Christmas carols began?
Rooted in faith, nurtured by love and family, Christmas can most certainly be among the most wonderful times of the year. Enduring traditions, season-laden gatherings and year after year of family fondness and memories can provide so much for so many. Who can remember erecting and decorating the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve? Did your parents put it up after the kids went to bed? Did it include a railroad set steaming around the base?
Stuffed dates, Auntie Gen’s holiday filling and the triumphant roar of “Joy to the World” at midnight Mass bring tremendous anticipation at Christmas.
It’s great, isn’t it?
Sometimes. Not always. Most would agree we often create too much stress. Expectations can become too much as we create an idea of how things are supposed to be. The pressure can generate unhappiness when we fall short of expectations.
Don’t let it happen.
Fortunately, the third Sunday in Advent came just in time with this message from its second reading. It reminds us where to hit the reset button when you finally get the kids into the car for the ride to grandmother’s house and all they want to do is irritate anyone near them. Or when the adults forget the reason for celebration and allow old wounds to get in the way.
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
It may seem difficult when the temptation is to draw upon a specific idea of how things ought to be or of how they once were. It can happen when you allow yourself to dwell on all that’s gone wrong instead of how much that has gone right.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
They are words that stand out at any time, but especially when you need a reminder.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise prophetic utterances.
Test everything; retain what is good.
Refrain from every kind of evil.
These are words that tell the story, so many memories of good, so much for which to be grateful.
Whether you create new many memories, take comfort in those gone by or just give thanks, do not allow the extraneous to stand in the way of what’s important.
Have a Merry Christmas.