5 ways to make season bright

By | December 22, 2010

There are also extremist groups that not only avoid the religious roots of Christmas, they seek to expunge the biblical connections. For example, the American Atheists organization is promoting a billboard campaign this year that features a picture of a Nativity scene. It includes the inscription, “You Know it’s a Myth. This Season Celebrate Reason.”

The commercialization of Christmas has led America Magazine’s Jesuit Fr. James Martin to declare that “The war on Christmas is lost.” In a column for the Huffington Post, Fr. Martin opines that “the war was decided this year” when:

• “Almost every major department store put up its red-and-green decorations the day after Halloween;

• “Most marketers had expunged references to the Christian feast in their generic ads;

• “‘Cyber Monday’ became a definitive addition to the lexicon as one more day to consume.”

By all accounts, it’s a challenge for Christians to keep holy the season of Christmas. What can we do to make the season bright, as in the Star of Bethlehem? Here are a few suggestions. Perhaps readers can offer more. Better yet, discuss this with your family during the Christmas season, which actually begins Christmas Eve and ends on the Baptism of the Lord, Jan. 9.

• Commemorate Christ’s birth: Attend Christmas Mass with your family. In last week’s Compass, we published a Christmas Mass schedule for every parish in the diocese. In addition, that calendar is posted on our Web site.

• Open up the Bible: Before unwrapping the Christmas gifts on Christmas Day, gather the family together, open up the Bible and read one of the Gospel accounts (Matthew or Luke) of how Mary and Joseph ended up in Bethlehem. Make this a family tradition.

• Include sacred Christmas hymns in your iPod playlist. Every year the list of Christmas music grows, and that list features many different genres. Make sure that your list features songs that reflect on the first Christmas. Create your top 10 list of traditional Christian songs and share it with friends.

• Purchase a Nativity set for a newly married couple. There is no better way to “keep Christ in Christmas” than helping newlyweds begin their own family tradition. Either as a wedding gift or Christmas gift, a Nativity set will be one gift that will be around for years to come.

• Don’t be a Grinch, but keep gift giving reasonable. Don’t buy in to the over-commericalization of Christmas. Giving gifts to family and friends is a way of expressing our love, but not at the expense of other causes. Make sure you set aside money for charitable giving. If you need a suggestion, just turn to page 4 and read about area homeless shelters that serve local people in need.

Let’s do our part to keep Christ in Christmas; this year and in years to come. Make it more than Happy Holidays. Let’s make it a Merry Christmas.

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