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Saturday, December 14, 2002

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St. John of the Cross

Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11
Psalm 80
Matthew 17:10-13

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the christmas of your choice

"Elijah will indeed come and restore all things." —Matthew 17:11

Before Christmas, we need Elijah more than the contemporary Santa Claus. The two figures are very different, as are the Christmases they are associated with. Elijah dresses in a hairy garment (2 Kgs 1:8) while Santa wears a red suit. Elijah ate nothing but bread and meat for years (1 Kgs 17:6), while Santa is not associated with a sugar-free diet. Both Elijah and Santa are known for flying. At the end of his life, Elijah flew away in a fiery chariot drawn by flaming horses (2 Kgs 2:11), while Santa is said to fly a sleigh drawn by reindeer. Elijah is as hot as fire; Santa is as cold as snow. Of course, the main difference between Elijah and Santa is that Elijah is a real historical figure while Santa is "make-believe."

Elijah's Christmas is prophetic, repentant, sacrificial, and real. Elijah leads us to Christ and Christmas. Santa's Christmas is jolly, indulgent, escapist, empty, and cold. Santa leads us nowhere. Which Christmas will you choose — Elijah's or Santa's?

Prayer:  Jesus, I give my life to You. I live for and in You. I will not only keep Christ in Christmas, but I will keep Christmas in Christ.

Promise:  "You are destined, it is written, in time to come to put an end to wrath before the day of the Lord, to turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons, and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob." —Sir 48:10

Praise:  Once St. John heard Jesus ask him what reward he desired for his works of faith. John replied: "Lord, I ask no other recompense than to suffer and be condemned for Thy love."

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend David L. Zink, June 12, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 13, 2002