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“Joy to the world, the Lord has come.” As the song goes. Everyone is celebrating now. Why? Do some of us even know? Some may say Santa, gifts, or just another reason to spend money. These are all parts of how we celebrate Christmas, but, what is the essence of Christmas?
This past weekend I attended an open house. I was at the headquarters of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property. They host this open house every year and welcome everyone to come. All the members of the organization have their special role in setting the ambiance. Some did the decorating, some did the cooking, some did the serving, some entertained, and the list goes on. They all sacrificed a little to make a wonderful celebration for anyone who wanted to spend it with them. They all gave their best effort to show a beautiful way to wish everyone a merry Christmas. They set garlands, nativities, and mini villages. They had Christmas trees and much more. They had a band who had been practicing for weeks just to complete the ensemble, but, the best feature was the love and laughter shared between the guests. This was done for the love of neighbor because of their love for God.
So now to answer my first question. What is the true essence of Christmas? It is the joyful sacrifice. With all the hustle and bustle of shopping deals and hectic lives led at this time, it is easy to forget why we do these things in the first place because we are too busy doing them. But, the spirit of sacrifice is what it is all about. Why was Christ born – why did He even come? Of course, to die to open heaven to us. So the Babe was born to die for love. Thus, we celebrate because He came to save us, but, we all know that He had to die. That was His sacrifice which we imitate. Sacrifice is selfless. That is true Christian charity and that is what I experienced this past weekend.
You may have heard of this analogy but I want to use it. Christian charity (sacrifice) is like a lamppost on a stormy night. No matter how dark it is, it will never be extinguished. And so even if you did not spend your weekend enjoying the gift of sacrifice and simple joy that I just have, I urge you all to make a sacrifice for Christmas. Especially in a world so pampered that when a phone battery dies, one cannot control himself for even an hour. Offer the sacrifice for others. Help those who need it, and give a little extra and share your talents with others. Do it with love and give it your all, just like the Christ Child. You never know who you can help or inspire unless you go out and do it.
Some ways of doing this are volunteering your time to a nursing home or orphanage (depending on where you are), giving to the poor, or even by having a party of your own where you take your time and put it into the décor and food to share with others. Now, Christian charity needs to be practiced all year long, but, especially at Christmas when the essence comes to life and accentuates the joy or unfortunately, the loneliness that people have in their lives.
For society to return to God, we need to do these things to show how wonderful and marvelous Christian charity is that stems from our beautiful faith. I hope you experience the love and joyful sacrifice which I am so blessed to have shared in and have a very merry and blessed Christmas!