Christmas is traditionally a time for family reunions, children and grandchildren returning home, expeditions to baches and beaches. In all this exciting, often frantic activity, the profound faith meaning of Christmas can be lost. The Catholic Enquiry Centre (through its online presence as Catholic Discovery) is taking an initiative to shift the focus back onto the unexpected arrival of God among us as a baby.
Many businesses and firms work until just a day or two before Christmas day. For those working on the land, it can be routines, regardless of the day. Often this means stepping up the pace to clear desks and counters for several weeks until the slow January grind winds up again. Last minute Christmas gift shopping can squeeze the available hours even tighter.
Christmas 2022 might be even more pressured. After long separations, made worse by Covid-induced shutdowns and great difficulties in travelling, the borders and roads and holiday camps are open once more. Despite steep airfares and jam-packed roads, people have the itch to move and see one another again, preferably in somewhat different and stimulating locales.
At CEC, we hope to encourage individuals and families to reach out even wider, to celebrate as groups of friends, as street communities and parishes. This year of 2022 sees Christmas day fall on a Sunday. This will pose a temptation to pack last minute shopping and road trips into the Saturday. We suggest, instead, that families make this a day of coming together for celebration, so enabling Christ’s birth to be welcomed on the next day. Getting all the normally reluctant children and friends to attend a morning Mass, inviting and offering rides to shut-ins, to widows and immigrant families – what a great way to recall how Christ was welcomed by the least and the great, by lowly shepherds and pilgrim kings.
To encourage many people (not just Catholics) to think in this way, the CEC is launching a series of nine short pre-Christmas podcasts dwelling on these themes. Ideas such as the origins of Santa Claus, and the history of gift-giving will be explored as well as the symbolism of decorations such as the Jesse tree, the star, the stable and the crib. Stories and poems about the season, as well as lines from deeply loved carols will be part of the presentations, all aiming to draw listeners into the wondrous message of this holy time – Christ among us, our hope of glory.
These podcasts (now launched) can be accessed right up to Christmas Day, but CEC is hoping that many listeners will tune into them before this, so as to prepare their hearts and awareness for the loving God who will come among everyone once more in all our struggles and over-busy lives. Visit the Catholic Discovery website to access the podcasts or those who use Spotify can go directly to catholicdiscovery.nz/spotify.