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"Holiday" comes from the phrase "holy day," which is a Catholic phrase. I love holidays because they enrich and bring life and joy to a nation. For a time, we're able to forget that we're in a war, that elections were stolen and that we have the highest inflation in four years — not to mention a rise in crime, porn, drugs, alcohol and suicide. Holidays temporarily overshadow these societal ills. Every holiday that makes America great comes from Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We celebrate holidays like:
Everything that is worth celebrating in America comes from Jesus, not Buddha, Confucius or Mohammed. As Catholics and Americans, we celebrate these Christ-inspired holidays in order to renew our joy by remembering events of the past and calling them to mind, making them metaphysically present through ritual.
The Christmas season and these other holidays bring joy, even to nonbelievers. Catholics celebrate as families, and we celebrate liturgically as a Church through ritual. Why? Because ritual has the power to recall important events like the Fourth of July for Americans (with its theme of liberty and freedom that was inspired by Christ).
The Jews celebrated Passover with rituals. The Passover prefigures Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Ritual has the power to help the memory preserve what is truly important. Ritual reminds us who we are and allows us to pass it from generation to generation.
If you want to keep any memory alive, it has to be attached to ritual, because rituals help us keep our Christian morals and values. How do you keep your memory alive? Through ritual. This is how the Jews recalled all their sacred events, and Catholics do likewise.
The repetition and ritual celebration is how the holidays listed above become burned in our soul and give us a deeper awareness and appreciation of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Faith grows when it is well expressed in celebration. Good celebrations foster and nourish faith. Poor celebrations weaken and destroy faith. G.K. Chesterton said, "Rituals are simple ways of expressing complex ideas." All of life, from sunrise to sunset, is ritual. I hope you have a happy and holy Advent "as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our Savior, Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).
With each passing year, it seems that I develop an even greater understanding of my brokenness — and, therefore, my desperate need for the Christ Child. What a gift He is! He is everything! My prayer is that you are overwhelmed to tears this season because of this gift. May His life within you bring you greater healing, freedom and holiness!