It’s Christmas Eve and tomorrow the new day dawns. For the first time in my life, I am missing all the joy and excitement I have always associated with Christmas. I can still see all the hustle and bustle of Christmas around me: the decors, the carols, the lights, the parties, the get-togethers, and of course, the shopping. And yet, Christmas this year is not the same for me. It may be of my age. But it is something I can feel also in the air and it seems to be happening worldwide. Christ has been taken out of Christmas!
Christmas is now a global holiday, even in countries that are totally secular and in non-Christian countries. And yet, Pope Francis himself recently declared that Christendom no longer exists. He said, and I read his words with a lot of pain and sadness in my heart, “Today we are not the only ones who produce culture, nor are we the first or the most listened to. Christianity, especially in Europe, but also in a large part of the West, is no longer an obvious premise of our common life, but rather it is often denied, derided, marginalized or ridiculed.”
I find it even ironic that when the Filipino practice of the novena of the Misa de Gallo in preparation for Christmas has gone global, Christ has been slowly yet surely eased out of the celebration of his birthday. Santa and his reindeers have largely replace the Baby in the manger. Without Christ, there cannot be Christmas. If he is not in it, then it is an empty Christmas, which is the reason for my feelings.
We need to reclaim Jesus and put him back in the manger.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come!