Reconciliation Monday and Christmas Spirit
December 15, 2014
You need a couple boosts to get you into the “Christmas spirit”? Try these two:
Saturday was “Santacon,” which, I’m told, means a lot of young adults dressing like Santa Claus and doing a “pub crawl” through Manhattan. From what I hear, it attracts a lot of people, some of whom imbibe a bit too much “Christmas cheer.”
But there were also a hundred or so young adults down at K-Mart at Astor Place, members of our Catholic Charities Junior Board, keeping a tradition called “St. Nicholas Shopping Spree.” They, too, have a lot of fun, but in a different way.
Each of our young shoppers is given a list of a family in need, with the names, gender, age, and size of the family members. They’re also given an amount to spend, usually around $50. Each shopper then goes through the store, looking for gifts – – gloves, coats, hats, – – for each member of the family. They really get into it making every penny count.
Then they take their cart to the check-out, where the gifts are rung-up and bagged, later to be wrapped and delivered to grateful families by our Catholic Charities workers. There’s no beer, but plenty of donuts, hot chocolate, and later, pizza. The young shoppers enjoy it, make friends, and leave in the real “Christmas spirit.”
Here’s the second help to getting into the spirit: today is Reconciliation Monday. In each of the 365 parishes of this archdiocese, priests will be hearing confessions from 4-8 p.m. Our unprofessional polling tells us that last Advent 60,000 people approached the sacrament at this event. I can verify that we do a brisk “business” at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
What each penitent is really saying, with Christmas ten days away, is that “I need a savior!” God the Father sent His Son that first Christmas as our savior. To save us from what? Our sins, for one. What these 60,000 Catholics are saying is, “Thanks, Jesus, for coming as my savior, because I need one! And here are the sins I need saving from!
They leave in the Christmas spirit!
Giving to another – – as our young adults did at the Catholic Charities St. Nicholas shopping Spree – – and admitting we need a Savior – – as thousands will do this Reconciliation Monday – – are effective ways to get into the Christmas Spirit!
A blessed Advent!