Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Theology of the Christmas Cracker

We went to the early Christmas Eve Mass since the children were in the nativity presented in the middle of Mass. Right after the Gospel, about 40 or 50 children went up front. The older children read the story of the Nativity while the younger children reenacted it. J and L were both donkeys. Apparently Mary and Joseph had a good year this year and could afford two donkeys. Or maybe they got a two-for-one offer at the donkey rental agency. The nativity was delightful and they both looked very cute.

As part of the homily, Father drew out a Christmas cracker. For those who don't know about this English tradition, read my post here. Father got a volunteer from the children to help him pull the cracker. He then took out the various bits inside and gave an explanation of how they related to the true meaning of Christmas.

The paper crown that we find in the cracker reminds us of the king who has entered our midst, the King of kings. He is the true royalty to which we owe our ultimate allegiance.

The joke is a reminder that God wants us to be joyous, not only at this most festive feast, but always. He wants what is best for us, what is good for us. Joy is certainly the ultimate goal of our lives--the joy of being in Heaven with God and the holy souls and angels. (By the way, the joke in his cracker was this: "Why does Santa use the chimney to get in our houses? Because it soots him!")

The present inside the Christmas cracker reminds us that this is the time of the ultimate gift. God gives His own Son to us as a redeemer. We are truly blessed and should be truly grateful.

Finally, the cardboard of the cracker reminds us of the stable and the manger, the first and humble home of Jesus in this world. No matter how poorly we are in our state of life, still God loves us and takes care of us.

It made for an interesting part of the sermon, certainly engaging for the children who were about to open Christmas crackers the next day. I wish you all the joy and grace of this Chirstmas season!

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