From a Creighton Student's Perspective
December 1, 2011
Sophomore, History Major, Biology Minor, Pre-Med
I’m probably stating the obvious but there is something about Christmas time that makes everyone excited. It is one of my favorite times of the year, and I know I am not the only one who feels this way. The beginning of December always seems to signal the outgoing of one season and the incoming of another. As a young child, I was most excited by the anticipation of the gifts I would receive from my parents, relatives, and (yes) even Santa on Christmas Eve and Day. But as I grew older, I began to realize that Christmas is not about just receiving in the material sense; it is about so much more.
In the Gospel of Matthew today, Jesus speaks of a wise man who built his house on rock. His house was pummeled by all sorts of outside forces, but it still did not collapse. He also speaks of a foolish man who built his house on sand whose home eventually washed away. We as Christians are the representatives of these men. The house is our relationship with God. How and where we build our relationship, whether it is solidly based in the Church and Scripture or loosely based in worldly things, is our own decision and determines the integrity of the relationship.
The outside forces that pummel our houses come from all manner of things: stress, temptation, sin, internal and external conflicts, etc. They wear us down to the point that it seems our house will fall and there is no way to prevent it. We can sometimes feel as if our spiritual battle has been lost; we can sometimes feel as if God has abandoned us to the world. I know this describes me quite often, but this time of Advent can bring hope to all of us. We celebrate the fact that our God has come here not to tear us down farther. Instead, he gives us the opportunity to rebuild our relationships on the solid foundation of the words and examples of Jesus Christ, where they will stand up to even the strongest blows. Our God has not abandoned us to the world, but he sends his Son, Our Savior, to rescue us. Advent, then, is a time of anticipation; anticipation not for material goods, but for spiritual salvation.
It seems to me that Christmas is obviously a time of giving. As Christians we have been given the opportunity to spend eternity in heaven sharing in God’s infinite love regardless of our imperfections. But there is no way we could possibly repay this gift to God. There is a way, however, to at least partially repay this by giving to others. In the spirit of Christmas, we can delight in our offerings to others in addition to what we have received and will receive. Many of us, me included, may not have much to give, but perhaps offering prayers instead of material goods for those who we know need them can be even more powerful and personal than anything else. Through prayers for others, we can converse with Jesus and act on his Word. This form of giving will also strengthen our relationship with Christ and truly achieve a Christian Christmas. This Christmas let us remember that no matter what our situation, we can always give to others because God will always hear our prayers.
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