Across the country people have been out in droves, shopping for gifts. While stores are serving an increase in consumers, that also means that there are more than the usual amount of motor vehicles on the streets. In Belize City, bumper to bumper traffic has increased a short drive across the city to about half an hour. And while time is being sacrificed, it is the word ‘sacrifice’ that people should be thinking of this time of year. Father Matt Ruhl of St. Martin De Porres Parish says if you want to feel the spirit of Christmas alive in your heart, it’s time to sacrifice a bit and give to those people in your neighborhood who have less than you. News Five spoke to the Jesuit priest today, who also retold the historical truth about Santa Claus.
Father Matthew Ruhl S.J., St. Martin De Porres Parish
“Santa Claus was in fact a person, an actual historical person. He was the Bishop of a place called Myrna in the East. He lived in the fourth century or the three hundreds and he was in fact really well-known for his love of charity and justice. And he cared very deeply about the poor. And this whole story of him giving gifts; it stemmed from a story about his keeping three women who had no money from going into prostitution. He had three gold socks—he threw one in the window one time and then the next one and the next one—and that way he kept the women from having to go into prostitution. So Santa Claus is a real person and he is a lover of charity and justice and that is one thing that we should be aware of at Christmas time.”
“Now the message may have slightly changed but that is the history of it. But when it comes to the meaning of Christmas and what should have; for the rest of us, what is it?”
Father Matthew Ruhl S.J.
“Well the truth is that Jesus was called the prince of peace and so the son of god comes to earth and avails salvation—gives salvation to everybody so we can all go to heave—we are all potentially going to heaven. But, the primary message of Christmas is that the prince of peace has come to earth and that you and I and the people of the word, Christians, should promote peace amongst ourselves and in our countries and in our cities. The primary message for you and I right now is: “God loves us so much he sent his only son and peace; he came to bring peace.”
“For a lot of people, Christmas is just a gift-giving time. How can they make their gift-giving about peace, about caring, about justice; about all these things that you are mentioning?”
Father Matthew Ruhl S.J.
“Well people should be aware of those in their neighborhoods or homes who have very little. And if we just give presents and feed each other—we have presents; we have food—but somewhere in your neighborhood, there is somebody who doesn’t have anything. Somewhere in your neighborhood, there is somebody who is having a miserable Christmas because they are hungry or they are lonely. If you want to bring the spirit of Christmas alive in your heart, find somebody who is lonely, afraid, poor or hungry and reach out to them and bring the peace of Christ into their heart by maybe feeding them or giving them a little gift or taking time to talk to them.”