“THE season of Advent is a time of preparation: preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas, preparation for the final coming of Christ at the end of time, preparation for the coming of Christ into our lives as we travel our pilgrim way to heavenly Jerusalem, and preparation for the coming of Christ to us at the moment of our deaths.”
--Bible Helps by Patrick J. Sena, C.PP.S, page 1475 of The New American Bible
IN our times, there is no doubt that preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas seems to be the most popular and the most remembered of all the feasts and solemnities of the Catholic Church. Its popularity is already deeply embedded in the minds and hearts of a great number of Catholics and even some Protestants who also celebrate Christmas.
Actually, as taught by the Church, Christmas formally begins during the celebration of midnight mass (Dec 25) and concludes during the celebration of the Feast of the Lord’s Baptism. But in our country, the preparation or celebration of Christmas is something that no nation of the world can ever surpass. In terms of duration, it is the world’s longest.
As the month of September sets in, Christmas songs begin to be played and heard on radio and TV, in malls, houses, parks and other public places. Display of attractive Christmas lights and decorations in high-rise buildings and commercial establishments dominates.
You may call it premature but Christmas caroling mostly by a group of children in many places of the country is a common sight.
The month of December is the part of the year when many Catholics troop to the Church to attend the dawn novena-mass commonly called as “Misa de Gallo.” It culminates at midnight mass (Dec 25) commemorating the nativity of our Lord. This is also the occasion when Godparents (Ninongs or Ninangs) find themselves busy in preparing special gifts for their godchildren.
But a lot of Catholic priests and Church experts opined that Easter Sunday or the Lord’s resurrection is the most important of all the feasts and solemnities celebrated by the universal church for quite a long time now.
In other words, it is the feast of all feasts, a memorable day when Christ our Lord rose from the dead, liberating us from the bondage of sin.
It has long been a traditional practice in our country, the Catholic faithful in particular, to celebrate Christ’s birth at Christmas, unwittingly overlooking the Lord’s resurrection (Easter Sunday) -- the most important event of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice to all humankind.
Without diminishing the significance of Christ’s birth at Christmas, it is my humble opinion that Easter Sunday or the Lord’s resurrection should be given more importance by all believers in Christ.--Joselito S. Berdin of Lapu-Lapu City