Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 18, 2006
Christmas is for love, not incurring debt
A happy Christmas comes from allowing Jesus to be the centre
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"Is this going to enhance my relationship with the Lord or not?"
Fr. Jim Corrigan
"Then, as a result of that, if you want to share the joy of the Christ-event with other people, you can reach out in friendship and even in the giving of little gifts, even a card."
Corrigan agrees Christmas could be a difficult time for many people. "It's very, very easy, Catholic or not, to get caught up in the hype of the Christmas season from a secular perspective."
The priest said the problem with Christmas-giving is that we generally give to people who already have and we usually give because we want them to think well of us. "In other words, it is all about us."
We should give to those who don't have. But if we decide to give to everybody else, then we should budget for it. "Be realistic and ask yourself what's my motivation for doing this," Corrigan urged.
"When we think about spending money that we don't necessarily have that's when we have to ask ourselves the question: Is this going to enhance my relationship with the Lord or not?"
Ten years ago Corrigan's dad, Douglas, made a rule: no presents in the house at Christmas.
"It was very interesting because, of course, there are seven of us kids and so everybody wanted to give somebody else something but Dad kind of stood his ground on that and said, 'No, if you want to give something give to charity, (that's fine) but there is no reason for us to be spending a bunch of money when everybody already has what they need."
The Corrigans buy for nephews and nieces but the adults are pretty much on their own. This has forced them to focus on family and relationships.
"What I find on Christmas Day when we are at the house with Mom and Dad, people actually talking to each other because we are not sitting around the tree waiting to see what the next person got for a present," Corrigan said.
Jayawardhana suggested people do as he does: buy little gifts. Or like his Aunt Lila used to do: make things herself and then give them to people.
"People don't expect expensive gifts, except little kids. But even kids would be happy with something that's pretty, something that's nice but is not expensive."
Jayawardhana's aunt, who died three years ago, used to knit little gifts and put $5 in a card and give it to people.
"The main thing is what you focus on. If you focus on the coming of Christ into your heart then you'll be able to bring joy to a lot of people. When we are able to welcome him in our hearts then everything else will fall into place."
Buying a bunch of presents and spending a lot of money is the easy way to take care of things, Roy said. "It's easier to do than to take the time away from all the other things to spend time together and enjoy the Christmas season."
Roy recommends families sit down and talk about "what would be the best Christmas for each person. I think the surprising part of it is that it's not only about expensive presents."
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.