Action Alert!

Christmas Sentiments

By Fr. Jerry Pokorsky ( bio - articles - email ) | Dec 26, 2023

We all want to love and be loved. The Christmas season is a sentimental time of God’s love, and it is helpful for us to consider various aspects of love and avoid a common mistake.

Love is the desire to be in union with the beloved. The ancient Greeks had several words for love. The love among family and friends is filial. The mutual attraction of men and women, husbands and wives, is a beautiful variant of human love. Sacrificial love is Divine. “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn. 15:13)

Jesus teaches us to love God and love our neighbor. Many may be distressed that they do not have the affection of love for God as much as they do for family and friends. It is difficult to express the same affection for Jesus as we do for our mothers, for example.

No worries. Jesus teaches: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (Jn. 14:15) We express our love for Jesus when we follow Him and, if necessary, disagree with family and friends in favor of God’s law. We need not reject our affection for loved ones in a holy dispute involving faith and morals. Indeed, affection may help maintain the bond of love despite the necessary disagreements among family and friends that come with following Jesus.

So our affection for Jesus is secondary to our obedience to His commandments. When we fail in our love, we repent of our sins, go to Confession, and receive Him with a good conscience in Holy Communion. We need not repent of our emotions; we need only repent of sinful actions: sinful thoughts, words, and deeds, commissioned with conscious deliberation.

Yet it is wrong to dismiss our affection for Jesus as irrelevant to our love for Him. The Christmas season is sentimental for a good reason. The Child Jesus and His Holy Family have a touching emotional attraction. The ensemble of the Christmas Mass—with the ritual, music, and assembly of friends and families—evokes affection for one another and Jesus Himself.

It is an unfortunate mistake to neglect the wondrous sentiments of our love for Him and others in this glorious Christmas season. He loves. We love. We respond with joy and affection.

Merry Christmas!

Fr. Jerry Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington who has also served as a financial administrator in the Diocese of Lincoln. Trained in business and accounting, he also holds a Master of Divinity and a Master’s in moral theology. Father Pokorsky co-founded both CREDO and Adoremus, two organizations deeply engaged in authentic liturgical renewal. He writes regularly for a number of Catholic websites and magazines. See full bio.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.