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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Yes, Virginia, There is a Christmas

Oh dear! I just dropped by to see all the lovely Christmas greetings and found this:

I need help with a question my friend asked me today. If anybody would have an answer, I figured it would be you.....

My friend asked me to show her where in the Bible Jesus tells us what day he was born on and where in the Bible he tells us to celebrate it every year. Ive looked and looked and looked but cant find it anywhere.

I normally use the Jerusalem or Douay Bible, but I even looked in the King James and also used a concordance at the library but I just cant find where it is.

Please help me, Sister, cause Im sure you know the answer. Id really like to show it to her tomorrow, being Christmas and all.

Thank you very much.

Lucky for you, I am a night owl.

The answer may well disappoint you. You can't find it, because it's simply not there. The New Testament says so very little about the birth of Jesus and almost nothing whatsoever about His life before He set off in His sandals at age 30. Probably quietly building kitchen tables for the good people of Nazareth until then. The Stradivariuses of kitchen tables, no doubt.

Jesus doesn't to tell us to celebrate anything whatsoever that I can think....only the Mass. "Do this in remembrance of Me." That's it.

So along with Christmas, out goes Easter. Certainly Halloween has to go. That is only a celebration of people saved by Jesus anyhow. That and embarrassing costumes. So long.

We choose to celebrate Christmas because, as my old friend said, we're so glad Jesus was born. We extend the love God showed us to each other by giving each other gifts. I think of them as birthday gifts, since Jesus did ask us to see Him in each other.

It's not rocket science. If your friend doesn't want to get on the bandwagon, well, more eggnog for you! As long as she's on the bandwagon with Jesus, we'll drink a toast to Jesus for her.

I have a hunch she's not Catholic. Which means she's missed the bandwagon and has hopped into a Yugo, in terms of spiritual
guidance. If she is a Catholic, however, she can skip the tree, the dinner, the gifts, the pretty red flowers, the eggnog, the angels singing, the Nativity set, the Magi, the star, cards, wreaths, lights, candles. She just has show up at Mass, since Christmas is a Holy Day of Obligation.

There are quite a few things that Jesus asked us to remember. I barely see anyone remember them.
We are to remember the poor at all times.
We are to love each other.
We are to see Him in each other.
And two more things that I think she might have difficulty finding, not in the teachings of Jesus, but among His supposed followers:
Forgive those who trespass against us.
Love your enemies.




Seriously, has anyone seen that lately? Note the words "love" and "enemy". Who is your enemy? Got some love for them? That blowhard at work? The girl who bullied you in high school? That guy who robbed you at gunpoint? Taliban, anyone?

I'm sure Jesus would be happier if we skipped His birthday altogether if we better remembered the things He wanted us to remember. But we don't.

So today, at least for one day, we can remember it all. We remember it today, because we always remember when we look at a new born baby that anything is possible. Anything.

Celebrating Jesus' birthday helps us remember. If everyone always remembered we'd have a very Merry Everyday.

Merry Christmas, everyone! Remember what Jesus told us to remember. Start with that windbag Uncle Dudley and work your way up the list.


Anonymous said...

Oh, this is painful... having just come from the family celebration. My sister has taken to inviting cousins who a) invade my physical space; b) invade my psychological space; c) get no hints by spoken or body language to back up; d) outright insult me. I tried as hard as I could to be polite but I was stiff and not friendly and I know my sister is annoyed with me. (Her son hates it that they come, too, so we huddled together for a bit. But it was well-nigh impossible to avoid them.)

I'll confess it in confession, but I wonder how grievous a sin it is that I could only be stiffly polite to people who insult my religion (and still carp about the incense at my 1997 wedding)? I *tried* to be nice... I just failed.


Off to Mass!

Sister Mary Martha said...

I have found that people who stand too close to you and keep leaning in even when you lean away are often near sighted... or far sighted...some kind of eye thing.

Apologize to them for for the incense. Maybe they'll drop it then. My mother gets down right sick from scented candles. Some things really really bother some people.

Zero in on their humanity, not their foibles. Have a laugh with them.

It's not a serious sin to be annoyed with people. It becomes a serious sin when it festers into anger and hate.

Anonymous said...

The commenter who asked the question sounds like she could have been talking to me about 5 years ago. I thought everything we did had to be explicitly spelled out in the Bible, and "Show me that from the Bible" was my favorite challenge to pose to other Christians. Now I'm in RCIA. (Yay!) Please, please don't buy the fundamentalist idea that if it's not in the Bible it is necessarily unlawful. Learn about your faith. Read Catholic apologists. Learn your Bible and what the Church teaches about it. Please take it from someone who has been there - the fact that the Bible writers didn't record a direct command to celebrate Christmas doesn't mean that much.


Anonymous said...

Janet- our priest even spoke of Christmas including some 'awkward family gatherings'. You are in the majority if your family has some people who just don't hit it off. If polite is all you could muster then that is fine. We were discussing my cousin's ex who sat in a corner one year and didn't speak to anyone- my dad was afraid he was the type to leave and come back with a gun shooting!
Sarah "learn about your faith" is great so is just having faith. When Sister says just let it go-that is usually really easy for me. God will explain things to me if and when He wants to. Why worry about the stuff He is taking care of?
Sister I am highly sensitive to both incense and many scents, including in candles. If your mom likes scented candles has she tried Yankee candles? They are the only ones I can use.

Anonymous said...

I have a brother who is a fundamentalist and used to bring up the subject of our differences. I actually credit him for getting me to know my faith better. I have searched for answers I thought would be for him only to find out they were for me along with the benefit of the journey they lead me on. And as for the "if it's not in the Bible, it didn't happen" school of thought...are these people here and were their births noted in the Bible? And yet, they live...hmmm...
By the way...
Merry Christmas....another from Maryland!

Anonymous said...

Sister, is it a sin to pray for God to kill someone? If so, are there exceptions?

Anonymous said...

It's still Christmas for another 2 hours....

Merry Christmas from Minnesota, where, right on cue, it snowed today!

Vicki aka Diva Mom said...

Merry Christmas, Sister! I hope you were able to enjoy some spiked eggnog!

Therese said...

Merry Christmas Sister.

Sparki said...

Merry Christmas, Sister!

I hope yours got off to a lovely start. Twelve days of feasting, right?

Anonymous said...

All I can say is Thank God he told us to love them and not to like them. And if all I can muster is the ability to pray for evil-doers, then by definition I don't hate them.

So, yes, then I really do love people who belong to Planned Parenthood. And the Taliban. And my sister who had her third kid with her third boyfriend and is making remarks about being "bisexual".

Just don't ask me to invite them over, within earshot of my kids. I love them enough to pray for them real, real hard and that's the best I can do.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Sister, is it a sin to pray for God to kill someone? If so, are there exceptions?

7:21 PM"

Say what?...

Anonymous said...

Actually, I don't think eyesight problems account for their closeness and their constant touching of one... but alas.

Would it be too horrible to simply opt out of Christmas Eve next year? I'd feel guilty, but ohhhhh so much less dread and stress!

Anonymous said...

A very happy, merry Christmas to you, Sister, from northern California! Thank you for your blog, which is a great blessing, and best wishes to you and yours.

PraiseDivineMercy said...

I read somewhere that celebration of Christmas grew out of the Ancient Roman practice of celebrating the birthday of the Emperor as a huge feast day.
Since they celebrated the birthday of their earthly ruler, people naturally wished to celebrate the birthday of the Christ the King. The Jews at that time did not celebrate individual birthdays, which is why we do not have the exact date of Jesus' birth, so the solstice was chosen. Given the importance of the Incarnation, the Church encouraged the idea from the beginning.

Anonymous said...

I just find, if I can 'love' people just the way Sister Martha does here, I have it all figured out! Keep the faith, Sister! I dont know any nuns who call peoples' Uncles 'windbags' but you must be one of those progressive sisters! Yay, you, you go, um, Girl?

The Dangerous Mezzo said...

What a fabulous post, Sister. Love our enemies, indeed.

Thank you! I needed to read this right now.

Anonymous said...

You tell'em Sister!
Tell. Dem.
It's easy to give gifts, but how tedious it is to give love.