This week Pope Francis said that though there will be parties, lights, even nativity scenes this Christmas, the season will be nothing but a "charade." Essentially, his point is this: after 2000 years, we still have not learned to follow the way of peace that Jesus' birth proclaims. This year, perhaps, is even worse.
Though I do not disagree with the Pope, I do think there is more than one way to celebrate Christmas this year. The first is the charade the Pope mentions--a crass celebration of consumerism that nods to "peace" as a perverse afterthought. But there is another way. As we start Advent this Sunday, let's try and find a way to refocus, not to IGNORE the edge of horror we are facing in the world, but as a declaration of active Hope. We celebrate to remind us of the way of peace, to hope for it, to seek it, to make it reality through advocacy, community, and prayer. We can take the symbol of Christmas, so easily a charade, and turn it into something more.