For how many people is the coming of Christmas a time of difficulty, acute awareness of bereavement, panic because of financial difficulties, or just despair? How many people dread the season when they are reminded of their loneliness, their lack of close friends and family. If this period is made into a time of spending, of parties, of conspicuous consumption, of drunkenness, and loose sexual behaviour, then, not only have we lost the real meaning of the Feast, we are presenting the whole concept of Christianity as shallow, lacking in depth and actually as a period when we act in an anti-Christian way.
Have we lost our way? Do we, as Catholics, subscribe to this view of the way we celebrate the Incarnation, the coming of God into the world? I do not believe that we do but we must be more proactive and energetic in keeping Christ in our Christmas. As a new Church Year begins and we start our Advent season have we any plans to deepen our faith, to come closer to God, to build up our relationship with God? Already, the signs are good; last week we deposited 150 shoeboxes to the Operation Christmas Child depot for sending all around the world, including Ukraine this year. This Sunday afternoon I will be at Pentonville Prison at a family day when the first 30 presents that you donated, will be given to the children of the men incarcerated there. We have pledges from you for another 40 presents for the next family day.
Looking outward to those less fortunate is a real sign of our Christian commitment. Let us pray that we celebrate the coming of the Lord in an apt way.