Dear brothers and sisters,
Greetings for the Christmas season!
We are friars working in Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) office in the Franciscan General Curia in Rome. As we are preparing ourselves for the celebration of God’s mystery of incarnation, we would like to provide you some alternative options regarding holiday gifts.
It’s all about the new lifestyle for Franciscans and our spirituality.
For us Franciscans, Christmas is when we celebrate the mystery of God; it’s not just a festive season. Like St. Francis, who celebrated the mystery of the Incarnation in Greccio, Italy. We also commemorate that God, in the Word made flesh, has saved the world. The mystery of how God chose to be born in poverty in Bethlehem is the source of Franciscan joy at Christmas.
So, as we prepare to celebrate Christmas, we would like to share a few suggestions with you, keeping JPIC principles in mind, and letting you know about the “buy nothing at the holidays” movement.
The joy of giving and receiving gifts is something special; the giver and the receiver both share in that joy. But buying lots of Christmas gifts can become a real financial burden, and can clutter our lives with an overload of non-essentials.
There are alternatives to this, however, and increasing numbers of people are choosing not to buy gifts for the holidays, and instead spend the Christmas season differently.
Our objective is not purely economic — our purpose is to witness to our alternative and counter-cultural spiritual values, focusing on the richness of existence rather than on having possessions. It is also about opting out of a system of consumerism that sells comfort and joy at the expense of the earth and of the poor. Challenging the system that produces such a loss of life and peace can begin with little daily practices. After all, the spirituality that we pursue does not become a reality if we don’t start by practicing alternative values in our everyday lives.
Here are some practical suggestions:
We wish all of you a very happy Christmas!
May the Lord bless all of us!
Jaime Campos, OFM – & – Rufino Lim, OFM
JPIC, OFM General Curia