Stores have been pushing Christmas since Halloween, with their trees, lights and all the trimmings. Radio stations started playing Christmas songs on Thanksgiving. Then of course was Black Friday with all the sale bargains and the first mad dash to get the latest gadgets. Christmas lights have been hung and blinking or shining since early December. Many, many Christmas celebrations were arranged and held before the 20th of December.

Stop and listen.... Do you hear what I hear? Quiet. Silence, there is not a Christmas song to be heard on the radio. Do you see what I see? Look around, rarely a Christmas tree to be seen, except on the curb, already thrown out. Few lights are still shining in the night. Society is in such a rush to get Christmas here, and then once it gets here, it is in such a hurry to move on to the next event.

Last week someone asked me after Mass, “Why is the church so late at getting our Christmas decorations out?” I told them, “We are not. It’s just that society is too early getting theirs out.”

When parents are holding a birthday party for their child, they start by planning. Who should be invited, and those cards are sent out a few weeks in advance. They decide what games or activities will be held at the celebration. Will there be balloons? Will there be ribbons? What will be on the menu? All of this is decided before the celebration, so that when the big day arrives, the decorations and all are ready to go and nothing is forgotten. The balloons are not put up days or weeks in advance, nor are the ribbons. The food is not prepared weeks in advance. Nor are the balloons and other decorations taken down after the party, they are left to celebrate for a few days.

The church gives us advent as a time to prepare. And the church gives us the Christmas season (December 24 with the eve thru the Baptism of our Lord, this time January 8) to celebrate the joy and happiness that our Savior is here. Now the lights should be lit, and Christmas songs should be sung. Lets us celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. This is not the time to move on, but is the time to REJOICE.

I wish you the gifts that Jesus gives us each…. PEACE, JOY and HOPE