Merry Christmas!

The Christmas Season is upon us. This can be a very busy time. There is a lot that we have to do to prepare for Christmas: shopping, decorating, baking, more shopping… It’s easy to get caught up in it all so that we lose sight of what it’s all about. Getting married can be very similar. It’s far too easy to become so focused on the material aspects of preparing for a wedding that we forget that what really counts isn’t the wedding but the marriage.

For some, the Christmas holidays can also be painful. Because it is a time of celebration, people going through hard times often feel their troubles magnified by contrast. Because it is a time when friends and family gather together, those who have lost loved ones or who are feeling disconnected can feel especially lonely.

For many, though, Christmas is a time of real happiness. We are reminded of the joys of past celebrations, of the Christmases of our childhoods. We see it in our own children and their excitement as advent calendars are opened and lists are made.

Regardless of our state in life, though, the Lord is reaching out to each one of us individually. He does this continually, throughout the year, at every moment of every day of our lives. It seems to me, though, that he makes special use of holidays to do this work. He really does use the “magic in the air” and the “Christmas spirit” to connect with people.

One of the significant ways he connects with people is by means of other people. By means of us. If you’re having a good Christmas season this year, use some of that positive energy to reach out to someone else who may be having a hard time with things. Donate food. Buy a present for a children’s charity. Call up an old acquaintance and ask how they’re doing. Give someone an unexpected hug. Make an extra effort to smile at strangers.

I have found in the past that when I myself am not having a good Christmas season, when I am not feeling the Christmas spirit, that reaching out like this, taking a break from the physical preparations and from my own troubles and just doing something nice for someone else as a Christmas present—essentially, by acting like I’m in a Christmas mood—I can often find my way back to the Lord and receive what He’s offering.

So I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season this year, and I invite you to have fun making it a nice one for everyone else, as well.

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