Deacon Paul and Helen McBlain write the Marriage Matters column for Members of St. Joseph Parish in Collingdale, they have been married more than 50 years and have seven children and 21 grandchildren.

Deacon Paul and Helen McBlain write the Marriage Matters column for Members of St. Joseph Parish in Collingdale, they have been married more than 50 years and have seven children and 21 grandchildren.

She says:

Gloria says: Ryan and I recently attended a “Holiday Celebration” at our children’s school. I heard a lot of songs, but none referred to “Christmas.”

When we went to shop for gifts for our family; we saw a lot of glitter and glamorous decorations, but nothing to indicate the Birth of the Christ Child.

Now, we would not describe ourselves as “holier than thou Christians,” but we are becoming more and more aware that Jesus, the reason for this season, is being eliminated in our culture.

When I shared my concern with Ryan, he kind of just shut me down, explaining, “This is just a sign of the times. There is nothing we can do about it.” I disagree, and believe we Christians can do something to combat the eradication of Jesus Christ in our world. I just don’t know what to do.

He says:

Ryan says: During the holiday season, I do find an improved spirit among people at the office and on the street. I enjoy watching movies like It’s a Wonderful Life or A Charlie Brown Christmas with our kids. I especially enjoy cutting down our Christmas tree and decorating it with our four and six year old boys.

I go to Christmas Eve Mass with our family, and we invite family and friends to celebrate the Christmas day meal with us. I really enjoy the look on our boys’ faces when they open the gifts that Santa has brought to them.

I think what matters most is that we celebrate the day and that is how our kids will learn about Christmas.

What do they do?

Gloria expresses concern about Christ being taken out of Christmas in today’s human secularistic world. It seems as if Ryan is not as troubled as Gloria about “Keeping Christ in Christmas,” and appears to think that gathering together, keeping the old traditions such as watching movies, cutting down the tree and opening gifts are sufficient to teach their young sons about Christmas.

Both Gloria and Ryan could do more to bring Christ into the lives of their sons and others.
Preparation for Christmas for a family starts long before the first Black Friday commercials, before the First Sunday of Advent, and certainly before Christmas Eve Mass.

A true Christian family prepares for the coming of Christ at Christmas by the way they live their lives and their faith the whole year long.

Does Ryan attend Mass throughout the year with his family? Going to church as a family throughout the whole year will help children learn about, not only the birth of our Savior, but also his life and his death for us…the redemption of all of us.

The Sunday readings at Mass throughout the whole year are an excellent opportunity to further talk about Jesus coming to us as a babe, as a carpenter’s son, as a teenager who remained in Jerusalem in the temple, much to his parents consternation, and taught the teachers there, as a man who performed miracles and told parables to people who flocked to see him.

And, finally as the One who suffered and died on the cross for us, for our redemption, and who left Himself for us in the Eucharist.

Gloria and Ryan, do you pray daily with each other and with your children? It is never too late to start and never too early to start.

An Advent wreath at the dinner table, lighting yet another candle each week, is a reminder that a great event is coming…and that is the Birth of our Savior.

Advent calendars can provide children with the anticipation, not only of Santa Claus, but also the birth of the Babe, Jesus. Each day, on opening a window of the calendar, a parent has the opportunity to talk about and better explain the unfolding of the events that led to Jesus coming into our world.

Gloria and Ryan, the world seems to have turned its back on the Christ Child; however, that does not mean we as parents have to do so. You can provide the couple power needed to bring Christ into your home and to others just by the gentle, daily reminders of Christ being with us. People are so concerned about being politically correct. Just be Christian. Christ will be among us when you share Him to others with your words, your prayers and your example.

“Keep us alert, we pray, O Lord our God, as we await the advent of Christ your Son, so that, when he comes and knocks, he may find us watchful in prayer and exultant in his praise.” (Collect Prayer Monday, First week of Advent)