Whilst the Vatican mounts the Nativity scene, another beautiful life-size crib in St Peter’s Square, announcing to the world once more the sublime mystery that God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, became Man to redeem us from our sins, I had a few thoughts about our Catholic public display of this most wondrous event and those who are trying to take Christ out of Christmas.
Have you ever realised that Christmas is the only feast in the entire calendar that has the name of God marking it? Yet as Christmas approaches through the season of Advent, and Christians the world over begin to prepare themselves for the celebration of Our Saviour’s birth, both within the cloister of our hearts and also as an external demonstration of our Holy Faith, the worldly tides of Secularism start to flow against us.
Even in countries like Spain, where Catholics are greatly in the majority, loud angry voices of radical feminists, anarchists and atheists, shouting louder with every passing year, are attempting to take Christ out of Christmas. Their argument? Bethlehem scenes (known as “belenes” here) and cribs, cards and banners displaying Gospel passages of the Nativity, Christmas carols, bells joyously ringing out the call for Holy Mass, etc., are considered “offensive” to non-believers and those of other faiths! Or so we are told.
Personally speaking though, I have never heard the Muslim population in Spain complain about any of these public demonstrations of Christmas celebrations, and not even ordinary agnostics either! Only the increasingly militant left-wing groups of radicalised atheistic-secularists rage against Christians joyfully giving a public demonstration of their Faith, and this opposition in a continent that was taken out of the Dark Ages thanks to its Christian heritage!
However, everyone celebrates Christmas of course, in their own way. This often takes the form of drunken revelleries and a frantic consumerism that, if you think about it, without the faith, is all simply meaningless. What are they celebrating? They may even send cards and greet friends, hailing them with “Seasons Greetings”, or “Happy Holidays”, in order to avoid having to mention the Sacred Name of Christ. But it is the aggressive resistance from the radical groups of anti-Christians to any mention of Christmas being about Christ, who are trying their utmost to secularise the feast, that is something strangely bizarre and even rather sinister.
Our Lord Jesus Christ still touches the hearts of many people at this time of year among a large group of indifferents, who blow neither hot nor cold over faith matters. In some inexplicable way, at a time of falling birthrates and the horror of liberalised abortion, the Birth of a Baby in a stable in a little unknown village called Bethlehem, Who was to suffer and die to save us from our sins, still has the power to bring joy and wonder to many lukewarm hearts.
May we prayerfully resist attempts to turn Christmas into nothing more than a secular fiesta. May we always keep Christ in Christmas and never fail to proclaim Christ’s rightful Kingship to the whole world.