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Charlene Rack affirms that the real meaning of Christmas can never be affected by supply-chain issues.

We’ve all seen the news stories: ships waiting in harbors for days on end, waiting to be unloaded, unpleasant shopping experiences from a shortage of truck drivers and other essential workers. “Christmas gifts will be harder to find,” warn sad-faced news anchors, “and they’ll be more expensive! You might not even be able to get a tree. (GASP!) It’s going to be really hard on those who celebrate Christmas!” 

Oh ... really? Well, just let me remind you of something, all of you doomsday, “Christmas is ruined” town criers. 

Remember the beloved Charlie Brown Christmas special, released in 1965, and still popular today? At one point, Charlie Brown gets frustrated with his Christmas play cast members, and he screams, “Does anyone even know what Christmas is all about?!” Linus walks onstage, a stage light shines brightly on him alone, and he quotes from the Gospel of Luke, (Luke 2:8-14), regarding the shepherds, and the message of the angels. Even as a child, I felt the significance and reverence of that scene. 

And the Shepherds heeded the message, celebrating the first Christmas with the newborn Christ, lying in the manger of a dank, dingy, and foul smelling cave, which served as a stable for some livestock.


Because we all know, even if we choose not to recognize or celebrate Christmas, Linus nailed it! I suggest you ponder that, all of you farcical forecasters of foiled Christmas festivities. Christmas is God’s love come down to us, settled in the lowliness of the stable, mingling with the love and faith of Mary and Joseph, their willingness to say yes to God, no matter the cost. THIS is Christmas, and it will never be ruined by a lack of “things.” As a matter of fact, without the distraction and stress of piles of gifts to buy and wrap, and creating a feast to beat the band, it could very well be the most sincerely celebrated Christmas that we’ve experienced for quite some time.

God always knows what we need, even when (or, perhaps, especially when) we can’t figure it out. This Advent, we need to focus on the simplicity of the poor and humble setting of Christ’s birth, and learn what this means for our lives.


Advent candles and Bible


Christmas is not about shopping or cookie-baking or Christmas light displays, or a tasty turkey broiling in the oven, with all the essential side dishes gracing our tables. Of course, these things can be very fun and nice, creating wonderful family traditions and memories, but we must make SURE that the birth of Christ takes center stage in our celebrations. 


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Witness to your family by your actions, come up with your plan now, to unwrap the real Christmas in your homes this year. #catholicmom

Slow down and think about why Christ came. In that small stable, the Blessed Mother had all she needed to celebrate the first Christmas. She had the pure and humble love and support of St. Joseph, the earthly foster father of Jesus. She had the warmth of the animals and the swaddle she had brought with her to wrap the newborn Christ child in. But most of all, she was “full of grace,” and knew that she was truly “blessed among all women.”

This is what we must remember about Christmas, and the gifts that we need to focus on: the birth of the baby Jesus opened up the supply chain of grace to all of us!

“Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to become children of God, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life. Grace is a participation in the life of God … It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the head of his body. As adopted sons (and daughters), we can call God 'Father,' in union with the only Son." (CCC 1996 & 1997, paraphrased).

Nothing under our Christmas trees can ever come anywhere close to such an unfathomable, undeserved, and eternal gift as that. We know what Christ said to Paul, as he suffered in prison, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” And Paul’s response “I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.” (2 Cor. 12:9)


St. Nicholas holding a baby


This Advent, as you begin Christmas preparations, think simple, think “God’s grace is all we really need, and stressing myself out to make a perfect Christmas is not what this is all about.” Take advantage of retail supply-chain issues and cut back on gifts.

Witness to your family by your actions, come up with your plan now, to unwrap the real Christmas in your homes this year. Have your Advent wreath and nativity set center stage. Pick up some second-hand books on the nativity story for all of your children. Encourage your kids to make gifts for each other. And open your heart, as St. Paul did.

God’s grace is sufficient for all of our needs, and especially for a blessed Christmas!

Copyright 2021 Charlene Rack
Images copyright 2021 Charlene Rack, all rights reserved