Advent Reflections – by Fr. Bob Warren, S.A.

There’s a great deal of secular sentimentality at Christmas which makes it difficult for Christ to make an impact. The swarms of Santa, the innocuous cards that say “Seasons Greetings,” and songs like Winter Wonderland. But there can also be some underbrush of spiritual sentimentality as well, and it can be 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 do.
Yes, I have to admit, I love the Christmas trees, and sitting by the nativity scene in church and realizing that I am looking at a depiction of the greatest event in human history. In every religion people seek their God, but in Christianity God seeks His people by becoming one of them. And look where He was born: not in an antiseptic hospital, or even at the Bethlehem Hilton, but in a cave, stable, whose cold air hung heavy with the smell of animals.

Spiritual sentimentality is enamored with the baby Jesus, but largely disregards the risen Christ. Yes, enjoy the warm feelings Christianity brings; enjoy Christmas mass with its wonderful carols; enjoy the holy child. But never forget the strong, bold, living and transforming Christ. As you kneel at the crib this year, tell that little child how grateful you are that He came into this world, and that you will serve Him every day of your life.

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