For a very long time now, we have become aware that Christmas is not just a single momentary event. Increasingly, it is now seen as an extended season, which is quite rapidly turning into a culture regardless of any religious significance it has for many of us. For that reason, Christmas, long owned by the Christian church as its special time to remember the appearance of the Angel Gabriel, the greetings to and of the Shepherds, and the visit of the Magi from the Orient; today, it appears that public mass media is setting the tone for Advent which as we all know only too well starts much too early for many parents’ liking. If I am not to appear to be taking any particular slant on the media’s claim of Christmas, or to whom the message should be aimed at, I am also aware that the original characters we have come to know so well in the story as the first visitors are often missing in media account of today’s events.
However, even in today’s retelling of the story, I am still intrigued by the importance placed on people and relationships at Christmas. Christmas cannot be truly joyous without people. For it is people who make it special, and more so, being with people we care most about.
Without the thought of, love of, and closeness of people who share in our lives and I hope to give it meaning, any desire for celebration or reason to celebrate an important event can never be fully satisfied. This new culture of Christmas is finding novel ways of putting people back in the centre of why we want to continue to make this a special event. Therefore, it is truly sobering thought that this Christmas there will be many individuals who will sit at home either on their own or missing someone they deeply want to be around. My prayer is that, in the spirit of true Advent season, we remain open to His unexpected visit, and possible be ready to invite someone we know is going to be alone, for them to share in our Christmas event.