Mother Franziska will forgive me surely for being jealous of her time and its celebration of Christmas. She was heir to a thousand years of beautiful traditions that had come to surround the feast. Everyone knew them and awaited the customs involving music, prayer and foods of the season. Gifts were actually a very small part of it all and focused mainly on children. The important thing was the commemoration of the coming of the Son of God to His people.
How sad that Christmas has become a season of controversy. All the beautiful things about the feast that have accumulated over the centuries have become sources of argument and protest. I think Mother Franziska would have smiled and answered with the line from a beautiful carol, “Rejoice, the Christ Child is coming soon”. Jesus has come, what is important today is not that we fight for recognition of His presence but to witness it by a joyful, calm dedication to the truth that we know. It is joy and peace that mark the season and these must also be our attitudes. We must smile often and easily to those we meet in our neighborhoods, shops and workplaces. Only by a true devotion and daily reflection on the religious aspects of the season will we have the confidence to smile at the harried, frightened, overworked whom we will meet. We know the truth. Emmanual, God is with us. How can we be anything except calm and joyful. If we have joy, the simplest arrangements will make a great celebration. Christmas must begin with Christ Mass… at midnight or during the day, perhaps prepared for by a sincere confession. When all is right in our hearts Christmas will be right also. We will be connected to the simple, beautiful, sincere celebrations of a long line of centuries past and especially, Edling in Bavaria and Vienna in Austria, where candles still shine in the night.