Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 22, 2008
The Christmas spirit can be ignited in many ways
BY LASHA MORNINGSTAR
Select only a few gatherings to attend and/or give. Be firm.
Set aside time to read the story of Jesus’ birth in Matthew and Luke and ponder the differences in their points of view.
Reread O Henry’s The Gift of the Magi and be reminded of the true gift of love. Open the cover of Hans Christian Anderson’s Christmas story The Little Match Girl and yes, the story brings tears to the eyes. But remember the ending: “She (the Match Girl’s grandmother) took the little girl in her arms, and they both flew upwards in brightness and joy far above the earth, where there was neither cold nor hunger nor pain, for they were with God.”
Or if the eyes are weary, slip on a CD. Here are some favourites you might enjoy:
Gregorian Christmas chants.
Celtic Women, A Christmas Celebration
Sylvia Tyson Quartette It’s Christmas
Paul Potts One Chance Christmas edition.
And if you once loved The Little Drummer Boy but squirm at the schmaltzy renditions blasting throughout the shopping malls, let Tom Jackson give you back the true beauty of this song. Now you can only pick up this CD at Tom’s Christmas tour. But you can also download it on the Internet with the request that you give a donation to your local food bank.
Write a letter to the long-lost relative, the friend you stopped calling, the person who lost a loved one during the year. Share a bit of your year. Reaching out with caring words can make a difference in what can be a lonely time for many. It also might mend a broken relationship.
Pray. You may think this is a given. But it is so easy to put it off. Talking silently with God can take place anytime – walking the dog, sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, standing in line anywhere, being at a party and looking out the window, oblivious to the chatter around you. As the Irish Jesuits advise: “Say whatever is on your mind, whatever is in your heart, speaking as one friend to another.”
Christmas can be a lonely time if one has no family or friends. So make your own celebration. Call ahead and order a dinner from a restaurant or food boutique that offers that service and arrange a time to pick it up on the 24th. Check out the Mass times for your parish and arrive early. The pews are sure to be overflowing. If the rest of your day is unplanned, writing a gratitude list — those things in your life that fill you with thankfulness — lifts the spirits.
And why wait for New Year’s. On the day of Jesus’ birth ponder how you can come closer to your God in the next 12 months, whether it be seeking out a spiritual advisor, going to the library and reading books you might not ordinarily choose, taking a credit course in religious studies at night or making an “appointment” to visit God at Mass every Sunday.
As my beloved godmother says, “Surely you can give one hour a week to spend with your best friend.”
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