But with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, Father began his sermon by asking how many of us feel joy right now at this stage of our preparations for Christmas. We looked at him with care-worn faces and hoped he understood why ‘joy’ wasn’t in our current vocabulary!
He did. He gets the fact that preparing for Christmas is enormously stressful.
Let Us Pray
But he also reminded us of St. Paul’s words in the second reading: “always give thanks to God and pray unceasingly.” Praying brings us closer to God, and we have so much to be thankful for.
He added that St. James tells us to quit complaining: no one wants to be around someone who moans all the time. One day Father wrote down every complaint he made that day, either in thought or in word. He was horrified to realize just how long his tally was. He needed to work hard at not complaining.
He pointed out how prone we are to grumbling about the one thing that’s not going right, and how we lose focus on everything that’s going well for us. We need to thank God for all the good in our lives, and offer up our difficulties to Him as a sacrifice.
Cheerful Equals Evangelical
Everyone likes a cheerful person, and people notice when a Christian, with all the reason in the world to be down in the dumps, is genuinely joyful about life. They want to know the secret of this joy.
The ‘secret’ is that Christian’s faith.
Christmas is definitely a tough time of year for most of us. But with all those not-so-subtle ways that Christianity is being attacked, starting with being expected to say “Happy Holidays” in case we offend a non-Christian, it’s becoming more and more important to make public the wonderful benefits of believing in Christ.
Not only should we be spreading the Good News by greeting everyone with “Merry Christmas!” but we should behave as if we are having a Merry Christmas by being joyful. How else will non-believers come to know Christ?
Being cheerful involves preparing for the Lord’s birth with a smile despite the daily aggravations this brings. ‘Taint easy, and we won’t always be unsuccessful. But the important thing is that we get up and keep trying.