Connecting the Christmas symbols to the coming of Christ the King

December 12, 2017

The Feast of Christ the King ushered the beginning of the liturgical year. I recall attending Holy Mass on this great feast a few years ago. At this particular parish, the music and choir reflected the beauty of this feast day. There was a full choir with all types of instruments ranging from a horn to a percussion section.

It is the middle of the Advent Season, and I have already seen and heard about Christmas for more than a month. Two weeks before Thanksgiving, my co-workers were already talking about the newest and latest Hallmark movies, and how they were tugging on the strings of their hearts. This time of the year is always a great reminder for Catholics. Advent is a time to prepare and reflect on the coming of Jesus Christ.

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)

It is during this time I prepare for the second person of the Trinity coming into this world to save me from sin and death. The Infant in the manger in Bethlehem came to redeem me by becoming one of us. I can see this in how Christmas is celebrated; the seemingly ordinary yet festive symbols are actually reminders of the supernatural. I can sometimes get caught up with the tide of materialism that gets intertwined with gift-giving. I have to remember that the greatest gift is the Infant, and that I am called to be a gift to others as He is a gift to me. It is this Infant who will grow up and hang on the cross for love of me.

The wood of the cross is life-giving, which I am reminded of by the Christmas tree in my living room. The tree is green even when it is cold and everything else is dead. The tree gives me hope for the spring time just as the Infant gives hope for heaven.

I walk around my neighborhood and many of the homes are decorated with Christmas lights. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. No follower of mine shall ever walk in darkness; no, he shall possess the light of life.” The lights strung on the outside and inside of my home remind me the Infant is the Light of the World. From Christmas stockings to the carol The Twelve Days of Christmas, there is a rich history and symbolism that points back the Infant in the manger.

Advent is not only preparation for Christmas Day in 2017, but it is also a time to look towards the coming of Jesus in the future. Thus, I use this time of the year to reflect on how I am living my life. How is my prayer life? Do I need to ask for forgiveness from my loved ones? How have I thought about the poor? How have I been the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in the world today?

Here are a few ways I prepare that I’d like to share with you:
• Go to confession, and get your heart ready for the coming of the Infant.
• Read Scripture, and use an Advent Wreath.
• Similar to Lent, fast on something such as spending less time on your phone or watching less TV. Use that extra time to spend with your family.
• Invite a family or friend that has not been going to Mass to accompany you on Christmas.
• Make Jesus Christ the reason for your Christmas Season!

One of the things I love about our Church is that we are not only given ample time to prepare, but much time to also rejoice and celebrate. Christmas is more than just a day! The Church invites all of us to celebrate the Christmas Season until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on Jan. 8. Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Dunn Estacio is an associate director with the Archdiocesan Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization.