Well everyone, it’s that time of year again: The Season of Confused Seasons. The Halloween candy has run out and people start eating pumpkin spice turkey while listening to Mariah Carey’s greatest hit. It is the time when all of us, whether we want to or not, begin to think about Christmas presents. It can be one of the best and most stressful parts about Christmas; a holiday where we celebrate the birth of Jesus by all receiving presents. We receive presents on our own birthdays, but why do we receive them on someone else’s birthday?
There is someone who can help us through this confusing time… St Leo the Great. No, he will not tell you when the appropriate time to begin listening to Christmas music is, however, he does offer some guidance on the Incarnation. St Leo the Great was pope in the middle of the 5th century during a very confusing time in Rome. Confusing enough that Attila the Hun showed up at Rome’s doorstep and he chose not to invade. St Leo the Great is the perfect saint to celebrate during the confusing time of November 10th.
So, why do we receive present on Christmas? Shouldn’t we be giving Jesus presents? Yes! We should receive presents too! St Leo says, “in adoring the birth of our Savior, we find we are celebrating the commencement of our own life.” The birth of Jesus marks a birth in the lives of all the baptized as well. We gain our new spiritual lives in baptism through the graces brought by the Incarnation of Jesus. If it were not for the Incarnation (God becoming man) there would be no way for us to become God in the resurrection. “Jesus became the Son of man in order that we might have the power to be the sons of God.” We are born again in Christ’s Incarnation, we die with Him in his crucifixion in hopes of rising with Him in resurrection, and becoming one with the Father in His ascension. Therefore, we receive presents to remind of us of our re-birthday, so to speak.
This Christmas, make sure to celebrate your re-birthday and the re-birthdays of all the baptized through gift giving. “For the birth of Christ is the source of life for Christian folk, and the birthday of the Head is the birthday of the body… For any believer in whatever part of the world that is re-born in Christ, quits the old paths of his original nature and passes into a new man by being re-born; and no longer is he reckoned of his earthly father’s stock but among the seed of the Savior.” Just remember Jesus is not only the reason for the season, but the reason for our whole lives.
St Leo, pray for us!
Credit: All quotes from St Leo the Great were taken from his Christmas homily given in the year 450