Pope Benedict called on Catholics to get past the glitter of Christmas. That’s a timely message if ever there was one.
I know that I should and I want to, but it’s a seductive trap. The culture does beckon us to shops, spend, and consume way too much. Then if you do want to get past the glitter, family and possibly friends will chastise you for being a kill joy, even though your intention isn’t to emulate the smile-less couple in Grant Wood’s famed painting. Also, if you’re like me, you don’t have a definite plan about how to celebrate differently, with less of the commercial and more of the real.
In my family, it pains me to see how we scurry about buying and wrapping lots of stuff. We rush to church and often arrive late (not this year) on Christmas Eve for the first mass to “get it out of the way” before a big, lovely dinner downtown.
Kids are asked what they want for Christmas and later what the best present was. Doing this just steers them towards a commercial take on a holy day. Over meals so much time is spent discussing shopping and the economy, and by economy I don’t mean how far off track ours is in terms of justice, but rather a much more selfish version. The only time we talked about anything spiritual or religious was when we complained about the new wording in the mass. Yep, I miss the words I grew up with and I absolutely see that this won’t make me a better disciple, but I feel if I bring up something spiritual or deep, then I’m a trouble maker.
How can we do better next year?