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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
December 17, 2006
The Spirit of Christmas - Is It Alive?

    There was an article in the paper this week that told of the popularity of Christmas music on the radio.  It stated that New Hampshire stations are only part of the 402 stations in the US playing Christmas Carols all day long.  This has been going on since the day after Thanksgiving.  At first it was gratifying to think that so many stations actually had the courage to play Christmas music despite the controversy over being politically correct with respect to Christmas vs. the generic holiday.  It did not take long to see that the situation was not about courage at all.  The main reason for playing Christmas Carols was to put people in the “spirit of Christmas” so they would hit the malls and spend more on gifts.

    How disappointing this article was.  It was not completely shocking however.  It fell right into line with the article about the Old Fashioned Christmas that was being planned in one of our small NH towns.  The planners came right out and said that this event was not about Christmas but about the kids and the Businesses in town.  I’m sure the town is still riveting from having its name associated with such a lack of real Christmas Spirit.  Surely the person who spoke up was not thinking her words through, as many of us often experience.

    Television is certainly doing its share to promote the Christmas spirit as well.  There have been Christmas stories, both human and animated, since Thanksgiving.  Again, in my naivete, I initially believed that the television industry was having a “change of heart” and attempting to promote the real thing.  Actually, this bombardment with Christmas stories may indeed be working in the favor of the true Christmas Spirit.  If we watch these movies or stories all month long we are bound to be touched by the real Spirit.  Despite the fact that the purpose of the industry is to promote sales, it may actually be working in another light as well.  The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive.  It is possible to be lured to the malls in the true spirit of Christmas. Hopefully the movies will do their work and help people to realize that gifts are not the only thing to think about.

    Another factor that is not necessarily mutually exclusive with Christmas or Advent but presently seems to be working in the negative is all the partying and parades and other activities revolving around the Christmas theme.  It is very evident that people are being taken up in the whirlwind and are neglecting to attend weekend liturgies.  They are forgetting that we are in the season of Advent and the best thing to do to prepare for the coming of Christ is to quiet ourselves and take some time for reflection.  Coming to Mass and listening to God’s word during this season could really help us to prepare for the true coming of Christ in our lives.  Surely, there is time for both the activities and for liturgy, or is there?

    Some of us are so busy that we have not even had time to put up our decorations.  Although this is not a major problem, we need to ask ourselves what we are doing lately.  Perhaps what we need to do this week is to calm our nerves, take a deep breath, take inventory of our activities and, if need be, change our direction.  It’s not too late, it’s never too late.  It’s the Sunday of Joy in our liturgy.  Let’s make it a real joyous occasion by focusing on the right things.

                                     Lorette P. Nault