Why go to church on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day…..
Devotional/Discussion thought of the day:
As I was in the place between sleep and waking this morning, my mind wandered and thought of the “work” that lay ahead of me this day…. a marathon of study and writing, and then two church services – and then just a few hours of sleep – then up for yet again another service. It’s a long day, this last day of preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth.
And while I know it will be a great blessing, it is a long day as well….and part of me – just longed to sleep in! It’s the classic battle of our lives!
Some would use guilt, or a call to duty, or other gimmicks to give them the strength to get done what needs to be done. To be honest, I’ve thought of that, for all one has to do is look at the “successful” churches – and such techniques are used – even as they sincerely desire to have people come and hear of God’s love. It works – and there will be churches that are full, cathedrals with people huddling in from the cold, as people respond to the call of a “Holy Day of Obligation”, or that come because there is an incredible “show”.
My heart longs for our sanctuary to be filled – but it also longs for a different attitude from those coming. One that comes, in response to God’s love… to celebrate it, to hear about it, to revel in it.
Christmas Eve, as we re-live the last moments of expectation, and celebrate the coming of Christ, and indeed, Christmas Day as well – are not days of our obligation as much as days were God did what He fulfilled His obligations, His responsibility to us. That is what these days are about. Going all the way back to the Garden, God promised to cover our sins, He promised to fix our brokenness, He promised that we would always be welcome in His presence, and He has given us Jesus, His only begootten Son, and the gift of the presence of the Holy Spirit to prove it.
I long for the day, when this is so clear – that we rush to church – to hear it confirmed again, to celebrate this great love, to gather – not because we have to – but because it just makes sense to be with each other, those united in Christ, those who are One in Him.
They may say I am dreamer – but to quote the song, I am not the only one…..
A priest/pastor wrote…
In the interior life, as in human love, we have to persevere. Yes, you have to meditate often on the same themes, keeping on until you rediscover an old discovery. “And how could I not have seen this so clearly before?” you’ll ask in surprise. Simply because sometimes we’re like stones, that let the water flow over them, without absorbing a drop. That’s why we have to go over the same things again and again—because they aren’t the same things—if we want to soak up God’s blessings. (1)
I pray that as we gather this day. and tomorrow, and I pray that you do gather, that our hearts are open wide, are open expectantly, to soak up God’s blessings, to revel in them, to rejoice, and celebrate His love, that you know the depth and height and width and breadth of God’s love for you, in Christ Jesus. And I pray you pray the same for me…
Merry Christ’s gathering! (for that’s what Christmas means!)
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 2034-2039). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on December 24, 2012, in Devotions and tagged Advent, brokenness, Celebration, Christmas, Christmas Eve, Church, holy day of obligation, Holy Days of Obligation, joy, Mass, peace, show my heart, spirituality. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.