Today is the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the Church year. As we begin the preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth, it’s very easy to get caught up in the material things and lose sight of the “reason for the season”. Christmas is truly a reason to celebrate and there’s nothing wrong with all the trees and lights and gift-giving. But, it’s important that we keep in mind that December 25 is a religious feast, one of the two major celebrations each year.
The birth of Christ is such an important occasion that we measure time, even in non-Christian parts of the world, beginning with Jesus’ birth. The secular world urges us to celebrate, to shop, and to spend during the weeks between now and Christmas, with the Christmas season culminating on December 25. The Church teaches us to spend the Advent season preparing for Christ’s coming with His birth being the beginning of the celebration. Obviously these two philosophies are in conflict, but as faithful Catholics there’s no reason why we can’t balance the two keeping in mind that our spiritual life is what’s most important with the office Christmas party coming in a distant second.
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