Merry 6th Day of Christmas, 2018


Here's a piece that was more for Advent, but still good for the Christmas season: 5 Ways the Devil Tries to Rob You of Christmas Joy. I sometimes see people discussing how it's even possible to keep celebrating when you are feeling kind of worn out from Christmas exertions:

(5) Fear of the World. ...[A]ll that is in the news, both within the Church and in the everyday, can make the birth of Christ seem like it happened long ago, and the darkness of the world is still here. It is still here. There is still sickness, death, foolishness, greed, pride, lust, wrath, sloth, envy, jealousy and gluttony. There’s still tremendous damage from all the sins in all the history of the world, but we know the cause of our joy, the reason for our hope. If we’re feeling fearful of forgetting, of being trampled by the world, that’s when we must ask our guardian angels to pray with us, to pray for us, and to invite us into the chorus singing, “Oh Come O Come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.” Christmas isn’t merely a celebration in memory of that day then, it’s living now, just as each Mass, the Eucharistic meal is living and happening now. Jesus tells us what the angels told those who heard their song on that holy night, “Peace on Earth, Good Will toward men.” We are offered what drives away all fear, the heart of our God. 
Laughter and deliberate counter-action to the devil’s attempts to steal away the blessed joy of waiting for this feast day is what we’re called to do. My husband used to tell me that he’d be plagued with self-doubt, and could feel the devil seeking his despair whenever he’d have to work late and find himself walking slowly back to his car in the garage. I told him, “You know what you should do?” “What?” he asked. “Walk faster.” So if you’re still feeling plagued by a thousand cares and worries, walk faster to the manger. The path to the Christ child was a willful act of faith on the part of the three Magi and the shepherds. They willed to ignore the temptations to stop, to play it safe, or to go only part of the way. They came to into the presence of the Holy Family because eventually, it was all they sought, and thus they knew the peace the world cannot give, and the joy the heavens cannot contain. We must all do the same.