It is easy for Christians to criticise Christmas with its consumerism and sentimentality for example. But as a Franciscan, I resist giving oxygen to the negativity of the Christmas critics.
St Francis was positive. The San Damiano crucifix told him to repair the church, not point out its ruins and its faults. So, I have compiled a list of the 10 Things St Francis would approve in our culture’s celebration of our Lord’s Nativity.
1. Christmas cribs and other Nativity displays which show the birth of Jesus in poverty.
2. People filling churches and flocking to Carols by Candlelight to be touched in some way by the story of Christmas.
3. Christmas lunches put on for the homeless and the poor.
4. Politicians taking real action to help the homeless.
5. The financial system reflecting on the fall of Wall Street, and looking for ways to lift the poor in developing nations out of poverty.
6. Families are gathering in joy.
7. Donors to Christmas Bowl, Christian Blind Mission, and countless other charities.
8. Artists, singers, writers of carols and poems communicating the Gospel story.
9. Peacemakers in Palestine/Israel… and everywhere else.
10. Muslims, Hindus and others, who love Christmas as well as Christians do.