Christmas is a special day. So much is focussed on THE DAY – that one 24-hour period. This is a good thing. It is a special day. It is one of the most important days in history.
There seem to be two times when people attend church. One time is when there is a disaster. Remember 9/11? The churches were suddenly full. Another day is Christmas – that very special and important day.
But what about the rest of the year? Why don’t they bother to attend then? For many of them, there is no disaster. Whether they attend Mass or not, it doesn’t seem to matter. They’re doing “just fine” without it. They’re basically nice people. They don’t commit any serious crimes. That should be enough.
St. Peter muses on this in 2 Peter, Chapter 3. He writes:
During these last days, there are bound to be people who will be scornful, the kind who always please themselves what they do. They will make fun of the promise and ask, ‘Well, where is Christ coming? Everything goes on as it has since the Church Fathers died, as it has since it began at the creation.’ They are choosing to forget that there were heavens at the beginning. The earth was formed by the word of God out of the water and between the waters. so it remained up to that time when the world was destroyed by being flooded by water.”
It’s a sober warning. Forget Santa. Jesus Christ Himself is comin’ to town. Jesus speaks about this in Matthew 24:36-39:
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark. And they were oblivious until the flood came and swept them all away. So will it be at the coming of the Son of Man.
You never know when “the day” is coming.
St. Peter continues:
There is one thing, my friends, that you must never forget. The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar, the sky will vanish. The elements will catch fire and fall apart, the earth and all that it contains will be burnt up.
With the Lord, ‘a day’ can mean a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not being slow to carry out his promises, as anybody else might be called slow. He is being patient with you all. He does not want any person to be lost. He wants everybody to be brought to change his ways.
Remember the song, “You better not pout; you better not cry….?” You better be good because you-know-who is coming to town. This seems to be a biblical principle. Being good for Christmas is a good and noble thing. St. Peter reminds us that,
Since everything is coming to an end like this, you should be living holy and saintly lives. Do this while you wait and long for the Day of God to come. What we are waiting for is what he promised. The new heavens and new earth, the place where righteousness will be at home. So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace.
We are called to be good not only at Christmas but all through the year. In this way, we become an example – a witness. The Greek word for witness is “martyr.” Witnesses will also take some heat from people around them for being good when it is not Christmas. Be good anyway. Be good all year. That witness might inspire others to be good as well… and attend church with us.