Dear Friends of Carmel Mission,
As we begin our Advent Season, we prepare to welcome the Prince of Peace into our lives. I will be speaking and writing about this in the weeks during Advent. This weekend I’m sharing with you a beautiful reflection on Advent by one of our parishioners, Roger Fiola. Please enjoy:
Today, however, we are distracted from those earlier, purer messages. Daily, we are bombarded with so many advertising messages and so many messages period, that such nuanced, spiritual thoughts seem elusive, lost in a fog of emails and social media posts. Perhaps we sense this loss and that is why so many Christians criticize the commercialization of Christmas: how each year, it seems stores begin selling Christmas decorations in early autumn.
It is true, that retailers fight for the Christmas consumer dollars – as they always have and now, perhaps more aggressively than ever—yet what does that point to exactly? Costco wouldn’t have a single Christmas bulb on the shelf if people weren’t there to buy it. It comes down to human nature. People understand preparation for this significant holiday, even if they have no faith in Christ at all. They celebrate him without knowing they celebrate him! So what are they celebrating? What are we all celebrating together? I believe it is the Love that Christians name as God— and even the deniers and atheists are doing it! I know people of the Jewish faith, Islamic faith that still have a family celebration on Christmas Day. It’s wonderful in a way. It’s as if God is bringing ALL his family together at Christmas, no matter who they are or what they profess to believe. He doesn’t seem to care. He merely wants them at the “table”.
So even in the commercialization of Christmas, we can see the Light of the Spirit move through the garland and candy canes.
People prepare for the celebration of that Love.
Let us be mindful then as we move into this season of preparation. Let us understand and forgo our customary rants on the commercialization of Christmas and see it as the way— perhaps the only way— many, many people have to prepare in Love for the coming of Love again on Christmas Day. Perhaps this different way of seeing will place in our hearts each day the joy that surely abides in waiting for the Lord!
Please take a moment to read our Carmel Mission Weekly Bulletin.