This will be the tenth Christmas since my father passed away. I suppose everyone misses deceased family members most this time of year; I know I do. My father loved Christmas! I sometimes wonder, in fact, what impact his larger-than-life celebrations of the birth of Christ had on the faith of his nine children, each of whom continues to practice the old Faith to this day. He believed that, just as Advent—the “mini-Lent”—was to be kept well, with plenty of spiritual and corporal works of mercy, so too should Christmas be fêted with all the merrymaking and gusto a Catholic family can muster
He knew that children are not born theologians who can grasp the intricacies of the great mysteries of Faith at an early age. The Faith needed to be lovingly spoon-fed to them, and so the childlike customs of Christmas were for him tailor-made to instill love for the Faith before children were old enough to begin to understand it.
What a shame it is, then, to see well-meaning traditional Catholic parents discarding those customs altogether in a misguided effort to counter the commercialization of Christmas. No gift giving, no merry making, no feasting on Christmas. Alas, the baby is being thrown out with the bathwater.
In a dreary world where pessimism and cynicism—rather than righteousness and peace—have kissed each other, we must guard against robbing our children of the wonder and joy of Christmas—the seedbed for a child’s Faith.