During the play yesterday in Providence Hall, there was a song (I forget the title) but one of the lines of the song was ‘beware the Christmas Shoppers.’ It was a spoof on what it is like to live around the Mall during this season. Dealing with the onslaught of visitors, not only in and around the Mall, but also on the street! And how badly they drive!!
I got to thinking about the stress and anxiety of just normal living through these holidays can really distort what the celebration is all about. My friends, Joy does not come from outside us. The psalmist says, MY SOUL rejoices in God my Savior.”
Joy is a result of the practice of three virtues: faith, hope and charity.
Faith in the abiding love of God through His Son Jesus Who manifests Himself in the Church for our salvation. Hope is rooted in Faith in that Jesus Who was raised from the dead is not in fact dead but alive and living amongst us, always giving us mercy, the chance to begin again. Charity is the result of a firmly rooted faith and an enduring hope in the Goodness of every human person.
If you find yourself stressed or anxious in this season, if your main goal is to make everyone happy, fulfill everyone’s expectations; guess what? You are celebrating the wrong thing! Because you are never going to make everyone happy, least of all yourself; that’s not what Christmas is.
Christmas is opening the door of your heart and letting out the joy that comes from faith, hope and charity. That’s why Confession is so important because it opens the door of our heart, which has accepted mercy and allows the joy that is trapped there to radiate out to others.
Gueric of Igny wrote,“we must greet Jesus’ coming with hearts straining with desire and leaping with joy!” But you cannot do that if you are trapped under the burden of making everything perfect and making everyone happy. Open your heart and let the joy that is in you shine forth in the world that prefers darkness rather than light.
Let people see you ‘leap for joy!’ That’s Christmas.