The first stage is the “Silver bells and Jingle bells” Christmas where we are all moved by the shopping, the bells and sleighs, the tinsel and the tree, the gifts and the sweets, the stars, holly and ivy. The hero of this stage of course is our very own Santa Claus. Many people mistakenly think that Christmas is actually Santa Claus' birthday. At times he is even used to frighten children into being good. They are are told: “You better watch out…or Santa will have no gift for you…”
The second stage is the “Silent Night and Joy to the World” Christmas where we have moved to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ - a historical event that took place about 2000 years ago. We recall in our hearts the beautiful first Christmas, a silent and holy night in which joy came to the world and all the faithful sang songs of “glory to God”. This is a good place to reach but we can go further.
In the third stage we literally reach the heart of Christmas which is the “Christmas of the heart” for “Christmas isn’t Christmas till it happens in your heart”. Some of you have perhaps heard that song before. It was part of the repertoire of many choirs and the words are:
“Christmas isn't Christmas 'til it happens in your heart. Somewhere deep inside you is where Christmas really starts. So give your heart to Jesus you'll discover when you do that it's Christmas, really Christmas for you.”
Another carol that seems to epitomize this “heart Christmas” is entitled “The Meaning of Christmas”. After commenting on people Christmas shopping and buying fancy presents, bright colours for the party, bright dresses on parade…The chorus goes “But Christmas is for those who have a heart, those who take a part in bringing joy and happiness, Yes Christmas is for those who dare believe in a world of peace and love”
When we search for the meaning of Christmas we can reach any of these stages…of course the higher stages include the lower ones. We could remain locked up with the Santa Claus Christmas…holly, ivy, Rudolph and his fellow reindeer, or we could go beyond and reach the crib and the manger, the beautiful liturgy, the magnificent choir, the well-decorated Church and believe me that is a good place to reach. BUT our search will truly end when we find God in our hearts. We renew and open ourselves to peace and love, to sharing and to forgiving. If we find God in our hearts we will never lose Him …it will be Christmas for us always…