Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

’Tis the season to be grumpy, fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la

by Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the Dec. 4, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)

I freely admit that I love Advent. Quite possibly my favorite day of the entire year is Christmas Eve. Anticipatory delight. Yum.

I freely admit that a lot of people in my life find this intensely annoying. Perhaps not as intensely as they once did. I doubt that I’m winning them over. After all these years, I think they’re just tired.

This time before Christmas – the last time I checked, we were still calling it Advent – is so very rife with emotion. Strong emotion.

We have the opinion that says, “The world is a miserable place. We have no reason to rejoice until the situation – every situation – is resolved to our satisfaction, according to our design.”

We have the opinion that says, “Christmas is nothing but a greedfest. Don’t do anything that has anything to do with the commercialization of the holiday.”

We have the opinion that says, “It’s just Christianity co-opting a pagan celebration of the darkest night of the year.”

We have the opinion that says, “If you love someone, you’ll bankrupt yourself proving it on Dec. 25.”

And so forth and so on. People who want to bury their heads in retail sand. People who want to expel anything that isn’t strictly Scriptural. People who get cranky with the rest of us. Bah and humbug, indeed.

The world will continue to suffer and experience pain and deprivation and suffering. That’s why we call the Gospel Good News.

Just as Advent reminds us to get ready for the coming of Jesus as a Baby, so we should spend every day getting ready for Jesus coming again. Just as giving a Christmas present reminds us to give of ourselves every day, to those around us, to those we know, to those we don’t.

What better time to celebrate the greatest gift of life we ever had – life and light – than on the darkest night of the year?

Perhaps love means never having to say you’re overdrawn.

All of which is to remark that the celebration of Christmas can become profoundly joyous and joyful. That this celebration reminds us of what we should be mindful all the rest of the year, too: That our God loves us so much that this Savior of ours was born, a baby. That this Savior of ours calls us to generosity of heart and of spirit, calls us to preach the Good News (and it really is Good News) with word and action, and loves us even better and even more than we try to love one another.

Advent builds the joy. Advent builds our appreciation. It’s not a time to beat ourselves into submission. It’s a time to prepare. To prepare to celebrate. To prepare to celebrate Good News.

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