December 22, 2012 – A “Perfect” Christmas

Well ready or not Christmas is now upon us.  I had the past week off of work so I am proud to say that I have all my cards sent, all of my shopping completed, and I also cleaned and organized my bedroom.  The cleaning and organizing may seem to sound like a minor task, but in my case, it was a yeoman’s chore.  Now the challenge will be to stay organized (which again, may seem to sound like a minor task, but in my case is a HUGE challenge).  Sounds like a New Year’s resolution, eh?  Well, that’s for next week’s blog.

Those of us who follow Catholic websites and read the articles know that there has been a lot written about reminding ourselves that the reason we have Christmas in the first place is to mark the arrival of our Savior.  One of the best quotes I have seen is from the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen, who put this celebration in perspective: “If Christmas were just the birthday of a great teacher, like Socrates or Buddha, it would never have split time into two, so that all history before the advent of Christ is called B.C. and all history after, A.D.”  Powerful stuff.  Yet though we know at least in the back of our minds that this is the “reason for the season,” I still hear people talk about how they will be glad when Christmas is over.  That they are “shopped out, partied out, hostessed out,” etc.  Perhaps part of the why we as a society have lost perspective on what Christmas is all about is that we try to make things too “perfect”.  We search and search for the “perfect” gift.  We want to prepare the “perfect” meal and host the “perfect” party.  We want to write the “perfect” message in our cards.  We want our decorations to look “perfect”, because we know that this is a special celebration.

But even if everything isn’t “perfect”, is that such a bad thing?  After all, the conditions in which Jesus was born were certainly less than “perfect”.  Being close to her due date, Mary and Joseph had to make the long journey to Bethlehem to be counted in the census, only to find that the inn where they planned to stay was full.  So they had to stay in what was probably a cave, where Mary had her baby.  Then, according to the gospel of Matthew, they had to flee to Egypt to hide from King Herod, who ordered that all boys 2 years age and under be killed in fear that one of them would rise up and conquer his throne.  So somehow, I don’t think Jesus cares if we couldn’t find the red Furby and had to settle for the green one.  I don’t think Jesus cares if the ham we have for Christmas dinner has a bit of grizzle in it.  I don’t think Jesus care if the inflatable Santa in the front yard won’t stay blown up.  What Jesus does care about is that we rejoice in the fact that he is among us, and that we celebrate that fact not only at Christmas time, but in the days after Christmas and the entire year.  Ah, I can feel the stress leaving now!

OK, since I’ve starting doing the blog I have had a little Christmas tradition.  I play the game of if I ruled the world and could give any gift to anyone I choose, these are the gifts I would give.  Since originality is not my strong point, here once again is my list:

To Fr. Gene: The opening of a local men’s store so he can keep up with his ever-changing wardrobe.

To St. Mary’s School: A couple of things this year.  One is a joyous and memorable 150th anniversary celebration.  The other is to find a cafeteria manager that can even come close to the hard work and organization that Bernice has provided the last 10 years.

To farmers, and all who rely on river transportation: Bountiful rain and moisture to fill the river and make for a better growing season next year.

To my St. Louis Cardinals:  Healthy years for Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright and a 12th World Championship!

To hockey fans such as myself: We just want hockey – whether it be good hockey, bad hockey, field hockey, whatever hockey.

To the State of Illinois: Where do I begin?  I would wipe out the entire leadership structure and replace them with people NOT from Chicago before we go farther into the proverbial cra**er.

To Pope Benedict XVI: Continued use of the social media tools that are available.  If he would like me to come to Rome and give him a lesson or two, I could squeeze it into my schedule, or of course we could just Skype.

To President Obama and Congressional Leaders: This one has become very repetitive, but again its a dream list, so I would give them the eyes to see that they need to work together in order to do what is best for the most people in our country, and that a culture of life needs to pervade our souls.

To my Mother: Anything she wants.

To me: I have enough electronic gadgets (for now).  So I just wish for continued good health, continued ability to do what I’m doing, and to somehow keep coming up with ideas to make our website the best it can be.

To the people of Newtown, CT, and all those affected by violent crimes: Obviously it will be hard to find any joy in this Christmas for those folks, so I just ask that they know that God is with them wrapping His arms around them in comfort, and that there will be healing in time.

And for our world:  That Christ will make His way into our hearts and that those in need will find means to provide for themselves: That the hungry will have food, that the jobless will have employment, and that fighting factions will find peace.

I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas.  May the newborn King bestow His blessings upon you.  And if your Christmas isn’t “perfect,” it’s still going to be OK.  It was for Jesus.  Have a great holiday.  Peace.

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