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Keep Christ in Christmas

By Chris Quilpa

“For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” — Luke 2:11-12

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays, too!

Let us pray: “Lord, on this Christmas Day, in the midst of the joy of our celebrations, help us recall what is truly important about this day. In the midst of opening presents, help us remember the love that each gift represents. In the midst of Christmas dinner, help us remember that you are the source of all life. In the midst of family gatherings, help us remember that you are the fullness of all joy. And in the midst of Christmas Mass, help us remember the supreme act of love, sacrifice and humility that we celebrate on this Christmas day, when your Son came as a helpless, unknown baby and grew to be the life and light of the world. Amen.”

What is Christmas? The word “Christ” refers to “Anointed One” or the “Messiah” (the “One Who Is Sent”). The word “Christmas” is first found in use in the year 1038. It comes from the Old English: “Cristes Maesse” or the “Mass of Christ.”

On this day of the year, Christians celebrate and commemorate the birth of Jesus, the Son of God — “the Christ” — fully God and fully man: God in human form.

It’s that time of year when we hear in the Holy Scripture the story of salvation — how a fallen world longed for a savior and received God himself.

We celebrate that event by hearing the story and by experiencing His real presence in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood, while in church, with the rest of the faith community adoring and praising Him, Jesus Christ, the reason for this Yuletide season.

Keep Christ in Christmas! It’s more than a sign, a sticker, a slogan or a saying. Its meaning is simple yet complicated and controversial to others, especially nonbelievers. But if we believe in Christmas, we should believe in Christ Jesus. Without Christ, there’s no such thing as Christmas.

He is truly the reason for the season. In spite of the commercialism of Christmas, the meaning of it should never be obliterated by just the buying of presents and giving of gifts. His presence and influence in our world, if we accept Him and believe Him as our Savior and Messiah, is beyond comparison and imagination. His simplicity and humility and love for us are contagious and can change us.

Jesus Christ was born in a manger, because there was no room in the inn for Mary to deliver him. God sent His only Son to dwell among us, to show us the way, the right path to salvation, to save us from sins, and eventually to die for our transgressions and imperfections. He was born destined to be our Lord, Jesus Christ, the sacrificial Lamb.

Once again, this time of year, we hear and sing along with Christmas songs that make us feel humble and holy, hopeful and joyful. Such solemn and profound hymns fill our hearts with gladness and gratitude:

“O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,/ O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem; Come and behold him, born the king of angels;/ O come, let us adore him,/ O come, let us adore him,/ O come, let us adore him, Christ, the Lord!”

“What child is this, who, laid to rest,/ On Mary’s lap is sleeping?/ Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,/ While shepherds watch are keeping?/ This, this is Christ the King,/ Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;? Haste, haste to bring him laud,/ the babe, the son of Mary.”

“Joy to the world! The Lord is come;/ Let earth receive her King;/ Let every heart prepare him room,/ And heaven and nature sing,/ and heaven and heaven and nature sing.”

Merry Christmas! Keep Christ in Christmas, always.

Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk. Email him at chris.a.quilpa@gmail.com.