Christmas Eve and a Speech from the Pope

24 12 2008

The Holy Father has made news recently for a speech he gave to the Roman curia.  I was interested in what he really said so I read the entire speech available here.  In it I found some statements I would like to comment on that have nothing to do with the parts making the news.  If you want to know about the part making the news the Curt Jester has a good post on that subject.

The parts of the speech I will comment on are as follows

The birthday of the Lord is at hand. Every family feels the desire to be reunited, to savour the unique and unrepeatable atmosphere which this feast is capable of creating.

Earlier I referred to the special atmosphere of Christmas. I like to think that this is, as it were, an extension of that mysterious joy, of that intimate elation, which surround the Holy Family, the Angels and the shepherds of Bethlehem on the night Jesus was born.

I would describe that as “the atmosphere of grace”, having in mind the words of St. Paul in the letter to Titus: “The grace of God our Saviour has appeared to all mankind.” (Ti 2:11).

Christmas eve is a big deal here in Japan.  People feel like doing something special so families will buy roast chicken, or KFC, and an expensive strawberry shortcake “Christmas cake.”  Those without children think it is better, and more convenient, to eat out at a nice restaurant and even spend a night in a hotel.    Me I do neither I go to Church of course :D  The customs I just described though used to bother me and I wondered why do people  do anything at all for a holiday about the birth of Jesus Christ then the Pope gave me my answer.  People are sensing that “special atmosphere of Christmas” as the Holy Father called it and they want to “savour the unique and unrepeatable atmosphere which this feast is capable of creating.”  Of course the customs are just that and people have a hard time quitting but at some point in time those customs started and stuck and I think I know the deeper reason now why they stuck with the reason being in what the Pope desribed.


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