Last weekend we celebrated the Feast of Christ the King: the last Sunday of Ordinary Time. It is one of my favorite liturgical feasts because it was established by one of my favorite popes, Pius XI (1922-1939) and because it was written to stave off a growing secularism in society.
And there is no better example of that growing secularism than the crazy commercialism of Christmas. We celebrate the birth of Jesus the Messiah in Christmas, and yet nearly every mention of Him is done away with. It’s like celebrating your child’s or friend’s birthday and telling them about how great the party is going to be but then asking them not to come. It is ridiculous.
You may not know this, but the origin of gift giving at Christmas goes way back in history to a time when it was in imitation of the gift of God’s Son to us. The faithful way of looking at Christmas is to see that Christ is God’s greatest gift and to try to imitate that love by sharing gifts with those who are important to us. So Christmas wasn’t meant to be a way to strengthen the economy, but a way to imitate God. When we look at gift giving apart from this, then we make Christmas something other than what it is.
Gift giving is a great thing, but when we spend money buying things the receiver will never use, then we are wasting money. A practice that is becoming more common is the pooling of money that would otherwise be used on meaningless gifts and instead giving it to a worthy charity.
Something to give some thought to.
Remember the meaning of the origin of gift giving at Christmas.