Little did either of us realize Father Fred was already sitting at the altar, only a few feet away, as we exchanged hugs and laughter about what we had done over the holiday; but knowing Mass was beginning soon, we sat down to listen to his opening remarks.
After a few moments of silence, he looked at the small gathering in the chapel and asked us to remember one thing before we celebrated the Liturgy….that Christmas is NOW. It didn’t last for only 24 hours. It wasn’t only for the 25th. This is the season of Christmas.
We should not be asking how WAS your Christmas, because today is still Christmas – yes, even on December 30th and beyond.
All day long I’ve thought about his gentle rebuke…which actually felt a bit directed at me. How many of us rush to decorate the house, put up the tree, buy and wrap presents, complain about how little time there is to do all that has to be done before Christmas Eve? Yet, are we also the same ones who rush to take it all down, and pack it away before even the first needle falls from the tree? Do we turn off the colored lights, put away the manger even before New Years? Looking down my street tonight I realize how many have already decided Christmas is over.
I received a gentle reminder from a good man today…Christmas is not for just one day. It is a Season! This is the Christmas Season. When my children were young we baked Christmas cookies between Christmas and New Years. We played games in the evening. We visited and partied with friends and family between the 25th of December and New Years Day….we never took down a single decoration until Little Christmas, January 6th.
With that thought before me, I lit every candle in my house tonight. As Father Fred admonished, don’t be in hurry to pack away Christmas.