Youth Matters - The paradox of Christmas

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Home > Media > News > Youth Matters - The paradox of Christmas
Youth Matters - The paradox of Christmas

By Tomasz Juszczak, Director of the Office of Youth Evangelisation

This year I participated in the annual Hobart Christmas pageant as part of the Archdiocese’s entry ‘Jesus is the Reason.’ Our entry featured a walking nativity complete with shepherds, angels, wise men, Mary, Joseph and little baby Jesus.  As we waited in line to join the parade I noticed another very colourful entry waiting ahead of us. The focal point of the entry appeared to be a person dressed as a deity, adorned with jewels and riding in a large golden chariot. I couldn’t help but notice the contrast between the two floats. There was an image of a god, ornamented with riches, riding in a chariot surrounded by beautifully decorated servants. Then, right behind, there was an image of the true God, a little baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes and surrounded by poor shepherds.

I see a similar contrast in how we prepare for and celebrate Christmas. Most of us are all too familiar with the fuss of the holiday season: extravagantly decorated homes and businesses, extended shopping hours, frantic gift buying, parties, new outfits, fridges and pantries stocked with festive treats.

The Church, on the other hand, calls us to prepare a little differently: by slowing down, making time for prayer, reflection, stillness, silence and a spirit of giving and service. Once all the Christmas preparations are over and we finally get to the Church on Christmas Eve, we are presented with an image that is starting to seem out of place amidst the commercialism of the season: a tiny baby born on a silent night and sleeping in a manger.

God could easily have come down to earth adorned with riches, backed by an army of millions of angels, in all his power and glory. Instead, He chose to come in poverty and simplicity.

So this Christmas, whilst we may be tempted to get caught up in the fanfare of this celebration, let’s also make time to approach our infant saviour in silent awe. Whilst we revel in the glut of food and drink on offer, let us remember the Christ child who was laid in a feeding trough, to become food and drink for us so that we may become one with Him. As we delight in the countless number of gifts that we both give and receive, let us remember the gift of Christ our Saviour who came down to us as the Word made flesh on this most holy night.