Circle of Prayer - Let's Ban Christmas!
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"Dear Lord we ask you to cover us with Your protection against all harm and evil and to bind every spirit that may come against us. Into Your hands Dear Lord I commend my body, mind, soul and spirit. St Michael the Archangel pray for us"

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Some time ago one of the 'Prayer Warriors' sent in a prayer request but within a long email. She was dreading Christmas and the financial costs that accrue, and the possibility of rows. For some time now I've been looking at how we have let the commercialism of Christmas dominate that most beautiful of celebrations - the birthday of our Divine Saviour. I'd really love to BAN CHRISTMAS! Sounds dramatic doesn't it?

I don't know about other places in the world but the 'Christmas Season' starts its advertising here in Ireland in September!

How many of us feel obliged to give gifts to all and sundry and end up in debt because of it? How many of us fall into the trap of  the pressures of television advertising influencing our children's idea of Santa having a bottomless pit of money? How many of us receive gifts that we really don't want, need, or like? How many of us buy gifts to compensate for time spent?

A child's belief in Santa is magical but it needs to be tied in with the real Christmas story. The reason d'etre. What Christmas is really all about. The reason He came for us in the first place. It was to give us the greatest gift of all, His own Dearly Beloved Son, because of His love for us and for our freedom from sin, pain, unhappiness.

So, what do we do to celebrate this greatest of gifts? We get ourselves into debt and more debt, we drink ourselves silly, we let office parties lead to one-night-stands and adultery, if consequences occur we book the abortion clinic, we fight, argue and abuse, we spend, spend, spend! Then for weeks and months afterwards we are eaten up with guilt and all sorts of ideas to repair the damage. Guilt is not one of the gifts the Father intended for us, instead it is one of those sneaky little emotions implanted by satan and his cohorts. Look at the list of stuff just mentioned and tell me they are gifts from God! The spirits of anger, drunkenness, sexual abuse, promiscuity, physical abuse, murder to name but a few!

I don't know the answer to them except to try and live our lives focussed on the Heavenly Gift-giver. Under His protection we won't stray too much off the righteous path. Oh, satan will enter the scene as much as he can and pick away at people who are tired, frustrated, fearful or angry in order to cause a row, or tempt us with little thoughts to lead us towards to the bigger wrong-doings. I'd say Christmas is probably one of his best season - great business!

Anyway, getting back to 'banning Christmas'. Why not move the big presents for the children to their birthdays? Takes off some of the pressure and, unless they all have birthdays at the same time of year, it might spread the cost more evenly. Make the Santa present small.

I watch my grandchildren getting more enjoyment out of the cardboard box the very expensive prezzies come in. God be with the days here in Ireland when Christmas meant a lovely big orange, a shiny new sixpence and a handful of sweets in a Christmas stocking. But there was the love of family, the enjoyment of each other, the visiting neighbours, the open door welcome.

Here's another idea to think on - why not tell all the friends and relatives that next year the AFFORDABLE money generally spent on presents will be going to a local, national or global charity, and DO  IT! Don't let it be a cop-out! Why not be honest with each other and tell it as it is? I really can't afford it!

How many of us stuff ourselves silly till we are so full we sleep off the most of the day? Think of those families who would survive a full year with what we spend on one day. Is that not the gift the Son wants us to give - to His poor, His starving, His disenfranchised, His homeless, His persecuted?

Our time is probably one of the best gifts we can give to one another. During the year make a list of all those who need our forgiveness or a wee word of 'sorry', forgive them, tell them you're sorry and  pray for them, especially at Christmas time, perhaps even visit and make up the row that has kept you separated. This is so common among family members and often over something so silly.

These are tall orders I know but the Peace of God resides in such situations. You can see from above how the evil spirits of division can cause guilt, anger, lust, abuse etc. Let's reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and make a promise, now it's all over, to try and find a way to make next year's one a very different time.

Moytura has several other sites with a 'Christian flavour'. Prayerful Thoughts & Thoughtful Prayers is a little collection of prayers and thought-provoking stories, and a few links to some other really nice websites. Reflections for Lent offers a daily meditation for the 40 days of lent and the week leading into Easter. As part of my Journey section of the website join me to learn a little of the Early Christian Church in Ireland by visiting Clonmacnoise, founded by St. Ciaran on the banks of the River Shannon in the 6th. Century. Read about Saint Brendan the Navigator who started a Monastic settlement in the tiny village of Clonfert in the 6th century, located on the Galway/Offaly/Tipperary border. Travel on my journeys to two of Canada's most famous Catholic Shrines - Saint Anne de Beaupré and Cap de la Madeleine, both on the shores of the Saint Lawrence river in Quebec. Finally I welcome you to come with me to see a little of Medugorje, a peaceful haven in a war-torn country - Bosnia-Herzogovina. Please also pay a visit to  Moytura's Irish Bookshop where you can find books on the history of Christianity in IrelandIrish Prayers and Celtic Christianity

Below are some of the other areas of Moytura's web site.

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