Wouldn’t it be great if we could hold on to our youthful Christmas excitement and enthusiasm for our whole lives?

Remember what it was like when you were younger, how you waited with such expectation and joy for Christmas Day to arrive? The lights, the decorations, the Christmas carols, the presents all directed our attention to December 25. Of course, the focus of these things was largely the secular aspects of our annual Christmas celebration. Nothing bad about that unless they were the only things that Christmas meant to us, whatever our age.

Of course, as Catholics, we know that Christmas has a much deeper spiritual meaning – its original and enduring meaning: The Son of God, Emmanuel, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah was born in Bethlehem on Christmas Day. “A Child is born for us, a Son is given us,” predicted the prophet Isaiah 800 years before the birth of Christ. Those years continuously added excitement and enthusiasm to the people of God as they waited for the long-promised Messiah to come.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could hold on to that kind of expectation all our spiritual lives? That is what the Holy Season of Advent is meant to help us do each year until Christmas arrives.

The Christmas story is the same as ever, it doesn’t change: The Virgin Mary and Joseph, the child, the star, the angels, the manger, the crib, the shepherds, the wise men.  We repeat the scriptural story each year. 

But Christmas is not just a story or a set of static images like those in our nativity sets. Christmas is about what difference the coming of Christ made and still makes in our world and in our lives. Do we look forward to its annual commemoration with the excitement and enthusiasm Advent provides? Do we stop to consider what Christmas truly means, what the Lord Jesus Christ means to us? The story may not change but do we, as a result of hearing it again, telling it again? Are we more grateful, more blessed, more spiritually motivated to draw closer to the Child of Bethlehem, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords?  Do we tell Jesus that he is welcome into the humble crib of our hearts, especially after all we’ve been through?

Let’s get that excitement and enthusiasm going again.  Stop in church and say a prayer.  Read some Scriptures, perhaps the Christmas story in the beginning of Matthew and Luke. Go to Confession. Get to Mass whenever you can. Give something to the poor. Show an extra bit of love to your family and friends. Don’t let the days of Advent and Christmas pass you by.

After all, Jesus, the Word made flesh, the Messiah, came for you! Now that’s something to get excited about.  Make your enthusiasm last.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!