Spirituality for Today – Winter 2017/2018 – Volume 22, Issue 2

A Holiday for All Seasons

Reverend Raymond K. Petrucci

Our theme may be expressed most adequately by the words of the Scottish poet, Alexander Smith, "Christmas is the day that holds all time together." One event in history has the capacity of fastening or bonding, in its purpose and significance, all the ages. From the beginning, the creative Word of God has brought into existence all that there is. No wonder that the most momentous unifying act in human history is the occasion of that Word becoming flesh.

Division is a word often used to describe the status of many areas of human relationships in our world today. Applied in this sense, the term is frightening in its connotations of bias, distrust, alienation, and separation. Taken to the level of international relations, divisiveness, which is either overt or lurking in the shadows, can lead to catastrophic events. One might grow in appreciation of the role of ambassadors in providing a spokesperson endeavoring to explain governmental policies and to avoid misunderstanding. Ideally, the celebration of Christmas could function as an ambassador of a global hope for peace, love, and unity. Both the Christian and non-Christian peoples of the world should be welcoming toward the One who has come to bring a saving grace to a hurting world.

An example of how a faith inspired individual as a member of a faith inspired organization can bring a Christmas-like experience to those struggling to maintain their equilibrium in a war torn part of the world. Let us take a break from the cold and snow and think baseball. World War I was reaching its climax. Hall of Famer Johnny Evers, one third of the Chicago Cubs' famous double-play combination of Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance offered to go to France in order to bring to the troops a little bit of home. Evers, a Knight of Columbus, was thrilled when the Knights accepted his plan to go to France as an athletic director. He arrived in France with 45 other K of Cs (known affectionately as "Caseys") and began his daily activities, talking to the troops about baseball and about home, visiting the wounded in the hospitals, going into harm's way on the front lines. He organized games between units of doughboys and even taught the French soldiers how to play the game. Other baseball Hall of Fame Knights would join Evers for a time in France and bring more happiness and peace to the troops. A great number of troops would be home for Christmas and they brought with them, among the terrors they faced, a uniquely joyful experiences of baseball with Hall of Fame players and an experience of Christian faith in action. [Source: Columbia magazine, July 2017] The lives of those generous, caring, and courageous Knights of Columbus as well as the lives of a multitude of brave soldiers were affected with the fruit of Christian action for the rest of their lives. How much richer was their Christmas in that momentous year of 1918.

Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't come from a store.

Dr. Seuss

The Incarnation of Christ became the highest illustration of how the human and the divine can meld into one and how that Spirit and flesh connection can determine the significance of life itself. Our lives in Christ continue the mission of spreading the Reign of God and how, no matter where life takes us, that unity can touch our own souls and the souls of others. One essential reality require emphasis here: Christ must be born in us. Christmas is not a spectator event. We all "come to the stable" on that Christmas night and we all belong to the holy event in its power and in what it calls us to be. I might offer a Morning Prayer that we could use at our awakening: "Lord, thank you for this day. Help me to be aware that this is a "Christmas morning" for me. There are people that I shall encounter over the course of this day who seek the gifts that I possess in faith. They are wrapped within my heart and mind and soul. Allow me the wisdom to know which gifts to unwrap and how best to give them to each person. Most of all, Lord bestow your abundant graces to me and bless my humble efforts to serve you well. Amen." Remembering who we are as followers of Christ is to remember why we live, what we hope to be, and where we seek to be for eternity.

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.

– Roy L. Smith

Yes, our time on earth is held together by the events of that Christmas day. We think a lot about time during this season and raise our hopes for ourselves at the coming of the New Year. Wisdom dictates that we draw some conclusions about our time on earth. Our reason for living and our legacy is found in the contemplation not only of the Incarnation of Christ, but also of how we witness to Christ born in us.