Advent provides us with that opportunity to slow our pace and engage in spiritual preparation.
The prophet Simeon believed God’s promise that he would not leave this earth without having seen the Christ of the Lord. On this day the glory of that light shone in his eyes and he was able to comprehend what this miracle truly meant for Mary and Joseph as well as for us.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and holiday parties, the advent season is a special time to quietly reflect on Christ and all he brought into the world. As Catholics, we are called to love and serve in the same manner that he loved and served—which involved bringing peace, comfort and physical provision to the poorest of the poor.
At this time of year, we receive Christmas cards from our mission partners in the field. We are continually blessed by these handmade cards and personal notes from orphans we support in Haiti, students in the Philippines, and the Catholic missionaries we support in Latin America and Africa.
Every year the U.S. Census Bureau collects data on the nation’s Christmas spending habits. A few of this year’s stats: $16.6 billion. Number of cards, letters, and packages the U.S. Postal Service will deliver between Dec. 1 and Christmas this year. $4.3 billion. The value of U.S. toy imports from China between January and August 2009 to stock stores for Christmas.
Disney’s 3D adaptation of A Christmas Carol is introducing a new generation to Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale of greed, poverty, and repentance. This is good news for parents concerned by the avalanche of materialistic messages that too often overwhelm the humble story of Jesus’ birth and the value of giving.