Matthew 7:21, 24-27
Beyond the beauty of Advent and Christmas
It’s early December and the season is increasingly filled with some beautiful, classic Christmas music – it’s Christmas 2014. The inspirational carols and instrumentals we hear these days help put us in a special holiday mood, stirring up the Christmas spirit in these early days of Advent. However, a funny thing happens on December 26 (or even late on December 25): abruptly all the carols and holiday music come to an end! And like the "used" Christmas tree tossed to the curb, so too does the Christmas spirit come to an end…it’s back to the everyday realities of life.
Jesus says in today’s Gospel selection: "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven." Perhaps, just perhaps…our singing of Christmas songs is all too like crying out "Lord, Lord", without any ongoing effort to carry out God’s will in our lives. Jesus comes to proclaim to us that God’s will is that we live together as brothers and sisters in God’s family, with love and concern for each other, with patience and acceptance. The holiday feelings we have leading up to Christmas Day are good for us, but not good enough: emotions change, and God wants us to live together as His children all the time — not just when we’re in the mood or "feel" like it. Every day, we’re invited, encouraged to be unselfish and loving, more like Christ himself.
During this time of Advent we will grow as we reflect on how we treat others. With the help of these Advent days and the special Scripture selections, we can get serious about putting our faith and love into practice…devoting time and energy to our prayer that God will be present to us and help us live as true children of God. Perhaps…if we have a change of heart and act upon it…we can have the experience of Christmas every day of the year.
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the local leader of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.