Best time of year

This reflection on the meaning of Christmas comes from Tommy Petersak, a senior at Schlarman High School in Danville and one of this school year’s columnists for The Catholic Student, the youth section of The Catholic Post now on a two-week Christmas season publishing break.

A member of St. Mary’s Parish in Westville, Tommy is the son of Tom and Tracie Petersak, and his sister Tanna is a Schlarman freshman. At school he is a lineman on the varsity football team. Petersak is also an active volunteer in his parish, helping with events such as St. Mary’s Labor Day Festival and Christmas Bazaar.

It’s that time of the year again: the Christmas music, Christmas cookies, incredible lines at all your major department stores, packed airports and just the regular holiday cheer that is associated with this wonderful time of the year.

But as a society, have we fallen too far away from what the real meaning of Christmas is and what it is all about? Everyone seems to get so distracted by all the shopping, parties, and decorations that few of us slow down to think about what we are really celebrating: the day Jesus Christ our Savior was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary for our own salvation. We seem to forget that the first Christmas was held somewhere as lowly as a manger.

I am not saying that everything we currently associate with Christmas is wrong. I love this time of year and all of the joy and cheer, but the basis for what the holiday is built upon has been diminished. We are all too busy on a daily basis to just stop and say thank you to God for all he has given us. Just ask anyone and they will say they are too busy.

It seems like that doesn’t slow down even on Christmas. Everyone is running from here to there making sure their holiday gathering is perfect and the food is perfect and everyone has everything they asked for, when really the day should be celebrated by relaxing with your family, celebrating everything God has blessed us with, and of course, the delicious Christmas meal.

Some people see this time of year as sorrowful, maybe because they couldn’t afford the gifts their children wanted, maybe family couldn’t make it to town for Christmas dinner, or worse, maybe they couldn’t afford dinner at all. But it shouldn’t be looked at like this. It is a time when God is showing us his incredible love and healing power.

Another thing associated with this time of the year is the greetings from people in the public and the manger scenes. We have turned so much away from the religious aspect of Christmas that it is not “politically correct” to say “Merry Christmas” anymore. We have to say “Happy Holidays,” and manger scenes are not allowed in some public places. This has been a subject of some great discussions, and I do not feel it is right to have taken God so far away from the season.

With all of the hatred and evil in the world today, I think people need to hear Merry Christmas or see a manger scene to just remind us that Christ is with us. That is, essentially, what this whole season is about.

In our world today, this is especially a time to turn to Christ. With all of the crime and depression, people need to think about where we came from and how we got here: Jesus Christ. People say it is the best time of the year, and I agree with them; everyone just needs to take a break from the holiday chaos and think about what we are celebrating.

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year!

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