I have been watching some classic (well, from my childhood) Christmas movies with the girls, mixed in with some more modern classics like the Santa Clause movies. And I said to them yesterday, "You know, one thing that bugs me about these movies is the attitude that you 'have to remember what Christmas is about,' with the understanding that it's about family and love and getting along and warm fuzzies with each other. Well, it is about Family and Love because it's about the Holy Family and the Love that is God. But it bothers me that all the movies made in recent years seem to focus on this idea that remembering what Christmas is about is about remembering that giving presents is better than getting them. Christmas is about Jesus coming as a child - the ultimate present."
Then I came home and read this piece at The Curt Jester (home of the lovely Advent wreath you see on my sidebar). He expounds on this very idea. Here's a sampling:
We hear about remembering the "Reason for the Season" from two sources. The secular source has an answer for this question on every made for TV movie pretty much shown for the next 23 days. The message is that family matters and that we should stop and smell the roses and remember what is important. Well as a message it is certainly a good one in that it has large aspects of the truth in it. Though this answer is also missing something. G.K. Chesterton once quipped about his friend George Bernard Shaw that he was like Venus de Milo in that "all there is of him is admirable." The secular view of Christmas which I held to most of my life is nice and cozy, filled with plenty of traditions, and strong on family. Though the modern "holiday" movie seem to be geared more towards broken families.
The other "reason for the season" message of course comes from Christians in that Christ is the reason. This might seem like a no brainer emphasis, but it is one more and more lost in the materialism and confusion of the Christmas season. Family is important and the Holy Family is even more important. Christ did not become a child so that we could have warm thoughts about each other in a non-specified holiday season. Christ did not become fully man to vacation among us. ...
What are we doing to combat this idea, to focus on the real meaning of Christmas?
Our family does a Jesse Tree - and these are the only ornaments we've got on the tree until Gaudette Sunday. We are in the wrapping-up process of The Great Adventure Bible Study. We pray daily. We attend at least one extra Mass each week. Next week, we'll be participating in the National Night of Prayer for Life.
And we do our best not to get caught up in the madness that Christmas shopping can be. We try to keep our gifts for each other at a minimum when we can (though I admit to getting more than the last couple of years, but a lot of that is turning out to be things the girls need), and Santa only brings three gifts for each of them, to symbolize the gifts of the wise men to our Lord.
What are you doing to keep your focus on Christ this year? What are you doing to remind others of the real Reason for the Season?