Speaking Out: Keeping Christ in the season

By  Jason Coelho, Youth Speak News
  • December 4, 2019

Taking time to reflect is one of the hallmarks of the Advent season, which prompted us to dig into The Catholic Register Archives to see how our Youth Speak News writers have tackled this special time of year. From the Dec. 19, 2010 issue, Jason Coelho, then a Grade 12 student at Brebeuf College in Toronto, presented his own timeless view of this special season:

With the countdown on until Christmas Day and pressure to buy the perfect gift for friends and family in full swing, it can be easy to forget the true meaning of Christmas. But we must realize finding the true meaning of Christmas can only be done through rejection of materialism. 

Western culture has inherited a slew of ideas from folklore, ultimately adopted by North Americans through mass media influences. 

It may be hard not succumbing to the jolly figurehead of Father Christmas, Santa Claus and the materialism he represents. As Catholics, we must always remember the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. But it may be helpful to remember the origins of Santa Claus. Santa Claus derives from the well-known St. Nicholas who lived a devout life, caring for the sick, the suffering and the children. Born in what is now southern Turkey, he dedicated his life to the aid of children and was given the title of the “protector of children.” 

Public acknowledgement of the saint does not stop us from treating what Santa Claus represents today as the centre of the Christmas season. 

This jolly old elf is who children centre Christmas around, not giving to the less fortunate, to the sick or suffering, like St. Nicholas, who made it his life’s mission.

The media has distorted the Catholicity of this holiday and, more importantly, removed Christ from Christmas. 

For many, this image is the basis of the season. Our need to receive gifts rather than give to others is a selfish reminder that we remain oblivious to the true meaning of Christmas, despite our faith. 

Though it may be difficult separating ourselves from society by exhibiting the true meaning of Christmas, ultimately we as Catholics must do what is right. We must take a step back from the hustle and bustle of the holidays to remember what Advent is all about.

The Christmas season also encompasses virtues that Catholics should exhibit throughout the year. Too often, charity, understanding and courteousness to others are virtues we fail to practice. 

This is apparent when we go shopping during the holidays. We find ourselves rushing to buy gifts on our list, as impoliteness and utterly rude behaviour sets in, causing us to forget simple manners when dealing with equally stressed employees and fellow shoppers. 

Christmas isn’t about focusing on a jolly old elf and reindeer. It’s not about how many gifts we receive in one day. It isn’t a competition for who has the best tree. 

Christmas is about the celebration of Jesus’ birth and the anticipation of the joyous event. It requires Catholics to be courteous, understanding and charitable to all as we wait for the birth of our Saviour. We must never forget the true meaning of Christmas and the true reason for the season. And that should be what gives us our joy.

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Christmas is celebrated to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God. The name 'Christmas' comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus). A Mass service (which is sometimes called Communion or Eucharist) is where...

Christmas is celebrated to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God. The name 'Christmas' comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus). A Mass service (which is sometimes called Communion or Eucharist) is where Christians remember that Jesus died for us and then came back to life.
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