December 21, 2015

As Christmas approaches, I have been hunting for spiritual decorations as family gifts. It has been enlightening and a bit upsetting to find only a handful of items in any of the several stores through which my husband and I have searched.

Of course, I have encountered a shocking number of references to the fact this "season" is all about the family and, no, they are not referring to the Holy Family.

Over the years, I've noticed that Sunday is now referred to as "family day" and even the media has emphasized the shift away from God's day of rest to one that celebrates a limited view of family.

How do many people feel about having family put right up there with God, particularly when families are often the source of great stress and grief?

As we all know, Christmas is a difficult time for many for various reasons. It should be a time of spiritual contemplation and refocusing on what is truly important - your relationship with God.

The Masses at Christmas are always grand, which can be beautiful minus the stinky incense. Incense is used to keep insects away and cover up bad odours in those parts of the world where it originated.

We don't need to have incense at every Mass on the big holy days, like Christmas and Easter, particularly when so many have respiratory issues. It would be nice to have each parish pick a couple of simpler Masses that feature no incense and let people know ahead of time.

It would also be helpful to have them let everyone know which Masses will have numerous Baptisms or limited music. Options for those in need of a simpler, shorter Mass at this time of big celebrations would be appreciated.

Far too many feel overwhelmed by the demands of Christmas and sadly some decide to just stay home.

Raeanne Lacoursiere
Fort Saskatchewan