Tuesday, December 22, 2015

3 Simple Ways to Sanctify Christmas Day

A good article I wish to share with you. 

3 Simple Ways to Sanctify Christmas Day

By pakosloski@me.com on Dec 21, 2015 05:40 am
Oddly enough I have discovered that one of the hardest days of the year to keep holy is Christmas day. While it is a joyous day to spend with family, it is very difficult to maintain a spirit of prayer. It is too easy to get caught-up in all the excitement over presents and entirely miss the “reason for the season.”
To combat that distraction, I have found 3 simple ways to sanctify Christmas day and keep my soul focused on the “Christ” in Christmas.

1. Don’t forget the “Mass” in “Christ-MAS”

This may seem obvious, but it is worth repeating. Attending Mass the night before or on the morning of Christmas refreshes my soul and focuses my attention on Christ.Personally, I prefer the Midnight Mass above all other Mass times. There is something powerful about attending Mass in the middle of the night, celebrating the birth of Christ at the time when He was born.
Midnight Mass is sometimes referred to as the “Shepherd’s Mass,” in reference to the shepherd’s who were keeping watch over their flock and received word of Christ’s birth from a company of angels.
What is especially beautiful about Midnight Mass is the use of lighting. Often in churches the use of electronic lights is discouraged and the entire Mass is said bycandlelight. This adds even more solemnity to the occasion and sets the mood. The dark church lit only by candles focuses our attention and quiets our soul to receive Jesus into our hearts.
Attending the Midnight Mass helps me stay focused on Christ and sets the tone for the rest of the day.

2. Start the Day in Solitude and Prayer

Another way that helps me foster a spirit of prayer on Christmas Day is to wake-up before the children and sit in the quiet. I find my inspiration from Psalm 45:11 where God says, “Be still and see that I am God.” We all know that once the children wake-up, chaos often ensues. That is why I try to be deliberate and start Christmas Day in silence and prayer, focusing my attention on Christ.
I personally know that if I do not spend those few minutes in prayer (it doesn’t have to be a holy hour; it can be as little as 10-15 minutes of silent prayer), the day will go by without remembering what the day is truly about.

3. End the Day in Solitude and Prayer

The beginning and end of the day are often referred to as the “bookends.” I know from experience that I can’t always control what happens in the middle, but I can dictate what happens when I wake-up and go to sleep.
What I try to do is end the day in a spirit of thanksgiving. I think over the day and “count my blessings.” I was reminded about this practice while watching the classic “White Christmas” movie with Bing Crosby.
Christmas is a beautiful day for many reasons and so ending the day in thanksgiving is a great way to maintain the spirit of Christmas and focus your attention on God instead of all the things we receive.
These ways may seem very simple and obvious, but sometimes we try too hard and fail in the process. Sanctifying Christmas Day doesn’t have to be a big orchestrated event. Instead, I take the approach of imitating the simplicity and humility of Christ’s birth. Christ did not come into the world in the midst of fanfare or a light show. He came in the middle of the night; into the quiet. That is where I believe we will find Jesus on Christmas Day.
Silent night, holy night,
all is calm, all is bright
round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant, so tender and mild,
sleep in heavenly peace,
sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent night, holy night,
shepherds quake at the sight;
glories stream from heaven afar,
heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!
Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love’s pure light;
radiant beams from thy holy face
with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.
Silent night, holy night,
wondrous star, lend thy light;
with the angels let us sing,
Alleluia to our King;
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!

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