The time is finally here; Christmas is just around the corner. It seems as though summer ends, schools open their doors, and suddenly the Christmas sales begin. Decorations go up, displays are stacked, and trees sprout from the showroom floors, all declaring that this Christmas season will be bigger and better than the last. While commercially things are ready, personally the holidays sneak up on us like the Grinch creeping up on Who-ville. So how can we ready ourselves and our families for the holidays?
“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.”
There’s so much to do: shopping for gifts, trimming the tree, prepping food, organizing holiday visits, seeing Santa; the list is endless. The holidays are a stressful time for everyone, and it’s very easy for us to become so wrapped up in preparation that we cannot appreciate the time when it arrives. To help with that, spend some time in prayer. Carve out ten minutes each day, find a quiet place, set aside your distractions, and just be with God. Share your successes and your frustrations. Ask for guidance. Be thankful for the things that you have. Spend time in the knowledge that you are loved by God; then, just let Him love you. When we offer God our time, he always gives it back to us in abundance.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”
Christmas is a time to draw closer to one another and to reconnect with loved ones. It can also be a time of stress for some, a time when personalities clash and old wounds open up. In order to prepare for the holidays, think of one family member or friend with whom you can reconnect. Send a note, pick up the phone, or sit down and talk; have your family do the same. By reaching out in earnest friendship, we focus on the things which bring us together, rather than those which divide us. This is the first step in forming closer and longer lasting relationships and in healing those relationships which are wounded. It brings us one step closer to living in the unity that God desires.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Christmas is a big time of the year for community events: special church services, music events, bazaars, clothing drives, food drives, toy drives, and more. Get involved! Go to those concerts and see community members singing their hearts out. Donate to the local drives in your area. Attend your local church services, both before Christmas and after. Being surrounded by others who are filled with Christmas spirit helps to awaken it in us. Bring your family along and share with them the importance of getting involved and giving to others.
Christmas is the time when we are reminded of the best news in history. When we make our hearts and minds ready for Christmas, we are preparing for something greater than ourselves.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
St. Francis de Sales Parish Catholic Church
40 Granville St.
Newark, Ohio 43055