Advent Reflections (Week 2) – by Fr. Bob Warren, S.A.
There’s a lot of secular sentimentality at Christmas, which makes it difficult for Christ to make an impact. The swarms of Santas, the innocuous cards and songs that say, “Seasons Greetings”. Buying things, we are told, are so important that we should borrow money now.
But there’s an underbrush of spiritual sentimentality as well, and I think it’s a far more serious hindrance than the secular kind. Spiritual sentimentality is the superficial acceptance of the religious trappings of Christmas, without really coming to grips with what Jesus came to teach and to do. It’s the acceptance of a substitute for the real thing. Spiritual sentimentality is enamored with the baby Jesus, but largely disregards the risen Christ. Jesus grew up, he did not make the crib His condo for life.
Spiritual sentimentality sings about “peace on earth, good will to men,” but shrugs off the issues of economic justice and human rights. Into this material-mad society Jesus comes, not to give us more things, but to deal positively with our personality, our character. He wants to perform a miracle in our souls. He wants to give us real peace.
Jesus wants to give our lives meaning and genuine significance. He wants to cut through the mountains of hardware and software that we have shown ourselves with, and to speak to our inner being. He wants to deal with us as people, not as customers.
Let us get ready for Christmas by cutting down the mountains of commercialism which may block the way for Christ. And if we really want to get ready for Christmas, let us hack away at the underbrush of sentimentality, especially the religious kind, and open the way for the strong, bold, living and transforming Christ. Let us not just pay our respects to a sweet tradition once a year, but instead serve the Lord as a living reality every day of our lives.