LOS ANGELES December 22, 2017
As December 25 draws nears, Catholic author Tom Nash reminds, “let not the religion of crass consumerism overshadow the real reason Christmas is—or should be—celebrated.”
“Giving gifts and advancing the economy are certainly good things in and of themselves,” says Nash, acclaimed author of the new book What DID Jesus Do?: The Biblical Roots of the Catholic Church. “But they shouldn’t obscure the real purpose of Christmas: To celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ (Lk. 2:11) and why he came to dwell among us (Jn. 1:14, 29).
“Buying useful items at good prices is also commendable,” Nash says. “But if the commercialization of Christmas leads us to miss the ultimate price the Prince of Peace came to pay for us, we will become impoverished in a much more profound way.”
“As consumerism has increased in recent decades, outward expressions of Christmas have decreased,” Nash observes. “Holiday lights are everywhere, but crèches—which feature the Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph—have become less common, whether on residential lawns, in permissible forums at public parks, at various businesses, and even in front of churches.”
“The birth of a child is something normally celebrated. But this is no ordinary Child,” acknowledges Nash, “because he makes demands on our lives and requires a response. While still in his infancy, Jesus is proclaimed a salvific ‘light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel,’ and thus ‘a sign that will be contradicted’ (Lk. 2:32, 34).”
“And so see we that the crib—beginning with a simple manger in Christ’s case—cannot be separated from the Cross, his Sacrifice of Calvary, the pinnacle of Jesus’ earthly ministry,” Nash says. “As the great Archbishop Fulton Sheen was fond of saying, ‘You and I come into the world to live. . . . Christ, the Son of God, did not come into this world to LIVE. He came into it to DIE.’”
“Therefore, when Jesus tells us that we too must similarly die to ourselves and carry our own cross (Lk. 9:23-24), it is, as I’ve noted elsewhere regarding the intimately related Holy Eucharist, a ‘hard saying’ (Jn. 6:60),” Nash says. “But given that Jesus has “been there/done that” through his Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension, we can be sure that the love he gives will cast out all fear in perfecting us (1 Jn. 4:18).”
“The motto on our money says, ‘In God We Trust,’ but Jesus conveys it can’t be a mere slogan,” Nash adds. “It must be a life-changing commitment and we must put mammon in its proper place (Mt. 6:24), especially during the commercialized Christmas season.”
“Do we trust Jesus? Will we trust Jesus?” Nash asks. “John Lennon famously sang, ‘Give peace a chance,’ and Cat Stevens told ‘everyone to jump on the peace train.’ But Jesus, the Prince of Peace, promises the incomparable and enduring peace that the world cannot give (Jn. 14:27). Turn to him in his Church this Christmas. Your life will never be the same.”
Tom Nash is a Research Associate at Ave Maria Radio, a Contributing Apologist for Catholic Answers and a Contributing Blogger for the “National Catholic Register.” Nash also has an M.A. in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville and an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Missouri. He has served the Catholic Church professionally for more than 30 years, including as a Theology Advisor for the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).
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