Padre Charles Ravert

(Lea la columna del Padre Ravert en español.)

Pax et Bonum+ Paz y todo lo bueno

At the end of Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas all the people of Whoville have their presents stolen by the title character. The Grinch expects them all to cry and be upset that all their presents are gone. He wanted to stop Christmas from coming by taking away the toys and the decorations, even their “roast beast” for dinner.

Soon though the Grinch heard a song of Christmas joy rising from Whoville up to his mountain. Christmas had come after all! “Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!”

Christmas is more than a day on the calendar and, of course, it is much more than simply a day for presents.

It’s a day to remember what is most important and celebrate those most important things from the heart not the bank account.

The truth that the world often forgets is that the most important things in our life cannot be bought with money, or exchanged with receipts.

Even if some Grinch stole all our gifts, tore down our trees, and helped themselves to our “roast beast” this year, we could still sing a joyful song on Christmas morning!

Whether a Grinch steals, unemployment looms, or hard times fall upon us we have to hold on to Christmas and what it means.

So let’s clear it up, what does Christmas mean, really?

Every movie, book and Tv show at Christmas time have their own spin on the “true meaning” of Christmas.

Some of them come close, but most miss the mark! I would refer to one other Christmas story that hits the mark: A Charlie Brown Christmas.

During the show, Charlie Brown struggles to find the “true meaning” of Christmas. He looks for it in presents, at a five cent therapy session, in a holiday play, in tiny forgotten tree. But finally he gives up and yells from his heart, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!”

Have you ever felt like that?

If only we could cut through all the agendas, the pretense, the secularism, the commercialism and just get to the “true meaning” we can hold on to Christmas morning and everyday!

Charlie’s friend Linus does a nice job here. He quotes Luke’s Gospel, the message of the angels to the shepherds near Bethlehem.

“Lo unto you is a born a Savior, which is Christ the Lord… Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Father Charles Ravert is pastor of the San Ambrosio Church in Philadelphia.