A Renewal
Off the Wall, December 25,

Imagine if you will, for a moment, celebrating your birthday only once when you were born, nothing thereafter. Apply that same application to weddings, anniversaries and the like. What sense would that be? I suppose it could be done, but, in my opinion, it would take the joy out of life, something to which we all look forward.

So, here we are, celebrating the most important birthday of the One who God sent to this earth to save us from our sinfulness. The questions that may go through one’s mind is, “Why are we bringing to mind acts that occurred 2000 years ago, songs that were written hundreds of years ago, and origins of traditions that originated such a long time ago? Can’t people just be done with it and let it go. Why must we carry on by doing what others did years ago?”

The sad thing is many people have. They see no reason to practice the renewal of the greatest celebration in the history of mankind. If one can just appreciate that statement and gear his mind to understanding that the acts, music and traditions all play into repetitious celebrations that serve as reminders of what once was still has to be.

Yes, we know that Mary was a virgin when she bore Christ. Whether it was December 25 or a day in June or September really doesn’t matter. It’s the act that occurred which we all know was real and became part of history that can never be denied, even though there will always be some who will deny it.

So when the time comes each year to celebrate Christ’s birthday, one’s date of birth or an anniversary, many celebrate by having get-togethers, songfests or short getaways to remember the past, the first time something that occurred in their lives that served in memory, the first a happening that went down in history as an event that has to be remember.

What eventuates, then, when we group together for renewals? I believe, a new awakening takes place to the point where we relive the occasion all over again, but more importantly, renew our feelings with a sense of well-being. It is through these acts whereby we are awakening the desires of wanting to revive our inner-most fervor to become part of the moment, stimulated by impulses that yield gratifying responses.

As we get caught up in the spirt of yule-time cheer, we embrace not only the birth of our Savior, but the merriment that accompanies it. How, then, can one not celebrate such an awesome wonder?

But, if we just celebrate the renewal of his birth, we are missing out on so much He has to offer.

Every time we take time to pray, and just as importantly, listen to what He is trying to tell us, aren’t we renewing a stronger bond as to a relationship with Him?”

And every time we go to confession, humbly concede the many ways we have walked away from God, asking for forgiveness and stating we will try to not commit those many sins again, a renewal of trust is taking place, in as much as we are gaining understanding that our sins are wiped off that slate, never to be remembered by God again. That, in itself, calls for celebration, accompanied by the knowledge that He is a Man of His Word when He states they are acts of the past, never to be recanted again.

In course of every Mass, celebrating the Eucharist is our way of becoming closer to Christ, the newborn child. Every time we ingest the body and blood of our Lord, we become closer to Him in a way of renewing our faithfulness with Him. Our “Amen” states it all, for it is with this one single word that we declare a deeper renewal with Him every time we accept Him into our lives.

Ever time we accept the Eucharist, we are declaring, “Yes, Lord, Jesus Christ, you are my Lord and Savior, worthy to be praised and exalted above others. By celebrating this renewal with you, I gain your Spirit in fullness with you and I can walk forward knowing you are in me, and I with you.

Going forth this Christmas, may our celebrations serve as a reminder that these festive events serve as a renewal in our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. To God be the glory for sending His Son into the world to save mankind.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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