News December 17, 2015
Saving souls by being merry this Christmas
We can get caught up in the many distractions of the Yuletide season, and amidst the sound of Christmas carols and the smell of gingerbread, fail to image the joy of the season to the world.
As Christmas draws near, many of us welcome the season with great joy. This festive time affords an outpouring of great mirth—the reuniting with friends and relatives, the pleasant nostalgia of past Christmastimes, the giving and receiving of gifts, baked treats and warm affection.
However, such feelings of joy can be dampened by the laundry list of to-dos before the big day, and the unrelenting stress and busyness can snuff out the holiday cheer. We can get caught up in the many distractions of the Yuletide season, and amidst the sound of Christmas carols and the smell of gingerbread, fail to image the joy of the season to the world. Not to mention, there are many others who face the season with dread. It’s well known that the Holidays can be a particularly difficult time for people. Such joyous occasions can point instead to their stark absence in one’s own life. Sadly, this time of year can stir feelings of loneliness and loss as well.
In Pope Francis’ The Joy of the Gospel, he memorably calls out “Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter.” These Christians not only do themselves harm by depriving themselves of joy and the peace that the world can’t comprehend, but most tragically, they fail to draw others into the light and love of Christ (for there is nothing alluring about a miserable person).
When we enter into the love of God, we find that we are overwhelmed with joy. There will of course be times of duty and when the feelings don’t match the doing. There will also be times of suffering, when we are not “happy,” in the worldly sense. But even during these times, if we allow ourselves, we have access to an inner joy that comes with knowing Christ.
We love God, yes, because it’s right and just, but also because there is a tremendous happiness and joy in loving God for his own sake. If we live this out—and truly believe it—then others will see this anchored joy within us. And if they do, by the grace of God, we can melt hardened hearts this Christmas season, and every season.