We Wait With All the Peoples of The Earth

Reflection by Julie B.

There are so many times in our lives when we tend to forget that the official definition of the term “catholic” is: “concerning all humankind” or “universal”.  We, as a Christian people, all too often tend to ignore the fact that there are other people waiting. When I think of, “all the peoples of the earth,” my first thought is how often during this time Catholics think of themselves and how rarely they think of all those who may not have the same beliefs. Everyone has something to long, hope, and wait for. I come from a very multicultural family and even my father, who is atheistic, says that no matter what happens to us, we will all move onto something better in the future. Most of us, religious or not, are striving for a perfect place. However, we often forget that we cannot only wait for the kingdom of God, though patience is important, we must also act. If we’re trying to make this world a perfect place, we must work for it. We always say that something must be done, yet we are not always willing to do what we think must be done to improve our world.

At this time of the year I also begin to notice the diversity of Christmas celebrations. Christmas isn’t just a celebration for Christians. Though our Jewish brothers and sisters do not celebrate it, several others do.  Throughout the world there are so many different customs and traditions that we don’t even think about. For example, I want to share some things I’ve learned about Christmas celebrations in other countries.

In Ireland, Christmas is more about the religious aspect than it is about the fun. Also, when they go to bed on Christmas night they leave their doors unlatched as a sign of hospitality. Light is one of the most important symbols for the average Irish Christmas. In Mexico, from what I have experienced, the focus of the holiday is on the nativity and, particularly, on Mary. This time of the year is summer in New Zealand, so while people prepare to go to the beach, shops will be decorated with scenes of snow and Santa in his bright red suit. New Zealand is also full of shepherds and that role in the nativity has special significance to their people.

Christmas is as diverse as the people of the world are. We need to remember that diversity and we should all delve deeper into traditions that may not be normal for us. Only then can we truly understand what it means to “wait with all the peoples of the earth.”

Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Sung Tan Chuk Ha! Nollaig Shona Dhuit! Buone Feste Natalizie! Mele Kalikimaka! Fröhliche Weihnachten! S rozhdestvom Kristovym! Kuwa na Krismasi njema! Joyeux Noël!

About I.Q.

Irene began working with St. Mary's University in August of 2008. She currently serves as the Minister for Faith Formation and Faith Enrichment with University Ministry and as adjunct faculty with the Theology Department. Irene holds a M.A. in Systematic & Philosophical Theology and Ethics & Social Theory. As well as a B.A. in Religious Studies and Philosophy.

Posted on December 21, 2013, in Lenten Reflections. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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