Can you imagine celebrating Christmas with no Christmas tree, nor Santa Claus, nor gifts or carols and songs, nor Christmas cards or decorations? What if they do away with the Christmas holidays, with all the parties, Christmas family gatherings, with no turkey or refreshments of all kinds? Would you still have Christmas?
Well, I can imagine it and yes we would still have Christmas. Actually in the land of my birth for more than two decades the Cuban Communist government established an atheist state and outlawed the celebration of Christmas but regardless of their attempt to do away with Christmas the Cuban Christians continued celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. There was Christmas and although Santa was sent packing with the Christmas tree and all the trimmings, faith remained.
Unfortunately today, in the midst of our American celebration of Christmas we are facing a massacre of little children so tragic and inhumane at Sandy Hook Elementary School that we need to put away our joy and celebrations to be replaced with tears and mourning. Instead of caroling or parties our country is trying to make sense and understand how could something like this happen in our midst?
How can you have Christmas in the midst of all the constant killings in our society? How can we rejoice in the midst of wars that seem to linger on and on and the threat of more wars to come in faraway lands?
Let me remind you that during the 12 days of Christmas, that starts December 25, we also celebrate on December 28, another massacre of children on a feast that we call The Holy Innocents.
In the midst of the joy of the birth of a small child named Jesus we also have the pain of Mary and Joseph having to flee their land and going into exile.
Throughout the Christian era we have faced many ups and downs in our commemoration of Christmas but regardless of the times we have always remembered that hope was born anew in the little town of Bethlehem and that Christ will always be there for us in the good and bad times.
The Apostle St. Paul reminds us of this promise when he asks: “Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…..For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, not rulers, not things present, nor things to come, nor power, not height, nor depth, not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus or Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)
Let us this Christmas once more be reminded that Christ is the reason for the season and rejoice in knowing that hope can be found in the manger wrapped in bands of cloth.
Let’s join the throngs of angels praising Jesus and say:
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among all people!”