– Ronald Reagan
My Advent reflection is to anyone and everyone that is upset that Christmas decorations and trimmed trees are being displayed and peddled way too soon (i.e., a Christmas ornament premiere July 15–July 23). I confess that I have found myself buying into (literally buying into) the commercial consumerism that seems to beset us. It seems earlier before Christmas every year. “In the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations,” I have been become distracted, bedazzled, and bewildered by the strange urgent anxiousness not to be that guy at a local 24-hour store on Christmas Eve getting that last minute Christmas shopping done. This year all of my Christmas cards will be sent out and all of my gift shopping will be done ahead of time. At least that is my preferred forecast of the way it will play out for me this year. If you see me in line at a local bodega picking up that last minute gift on Christmas Eve, please go ahead of me in line. I am in no rush. This year, I will be the guy just taking it all in and embracing all of the decorations, trimmings of the trees, and the halls being decked, and remembering the true meaning of Christmas. I will be seeing the baby in a manger, the star on the top of the tree, the goodness of an angel like kindness that I witness, the long journey stuck in traffic on the way home, the burned Christmas feast that I set on fire, the bah humbug blues, the sorrowful mourning of another Christmas without that special someone, that ugly permanent eggnog stain on my favorite sweater. Yes. That will be me letting everyone in line go ahead of me. As I am in no rush in the hustle and bustle of it all. I will try not to lose sight of the true
meaning of Christmas through all the discount trees on Christmas Eve. Instead, I will ponder the good, the bad, the ugly, the joyous, the hopeful, the sorrowful, the love and the peace-filled meanings of Christmas. I will see and feel the Spirit of Christmas in myself and in everyone and in everything around me. I will embrace the Prince of Peace, commemorating His birth not just during Advent and throughout the Christmas season, but yes, even in Christmas in July and every month of the year. Because I love Christmas and maybe, just maybe this year, Christmas will come earlier than expected and there will be good tidings and great joy, peace and good will. Maybe, just maybe this year, there will be peace on earth, and maybe I will let it begin with me.
Prayer: Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me. Let there be peace on Earth. The peace that was meant to be. With God as our Father. Brothers all are we. Let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony. Let peace begin with me. Let this be the moment now. With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow. To take each moment, and live each moment, in peace eternally. Let there be peace on Earth. And let it begin with me.