First Sunday of Advent

11-22-2022Pastor's LetterFr. Michael Straley

This weekend we begin the Holy Season of Advent. Advent is a time of preparation...for what? Santa Claus? Well, maybe.

The name “santa claus” comes from the Dutch name for St. Nicholas, “Sinterklaas”. St. Nicholas was a monk from Eastern Europe who died in the year 343. He was known for his great kindness and generosity, especially for the poor.

Gift-giving began as a way to remember the generosity of St. Nicholas. In many countries they still put shoes out by their door to be filled with “goodies”, sweets and special little surprises. Originally, these gifts were not wrapped and arrived the night before December 6th, the Feast of St. Nicholas.

So why do we give gifts on Christmas? We are remembering the greatest gift given to the world: Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We celebrate the gift of our salvation. In many countries, gifts are actually given on what we call the Feast of Epiphany, the Feast of the Magi. Since they brought gifts to the child, Jesus, the tradition began to give gifts to all children as well.

You can see how this all was combined over many centuries to the way we celebrate today. It is good to remember what Christmas is all about so that we do not get caught up in “secular” Christmas, but remember the true meaning, not Santa Claus but Jesus Christ our Lord.

Happy and Holy Advent to you all,

Fr. Mike