‘In our secularized Western society Christmas offers a good occasion to experience [an] illusory happiness that offers a short break in our fear-filled lives. For many, Christmas is no longer the day to celebrate the mystery of the birth of God among us, the God hidden in the wounds of humanity. It is no longer the day of the child, awaited with prayer and repentance, contemplated with watchful attentiveness, and remembered in liturgical solemnity, joyful song, and peaceful family meals. Instead, Christmas has become a time when companies send elaborate gifts to their clients to thank them for their business, when post offices work overtime to process an overload of cards, when immense amounts of money are spent on food and drink, and socializing becomes a full-time activity. There are trees, decorate streets, sweet tunes in the supermarkets, and children saying to their parents: I want this and I want that.’ The shallow happiness of busy people often fills the place meant to experience the deep, lasting joy of Emmanuel, God-with-us’. — Henri Nouwen, Lifesigns: Intimacy, Fecundity, and Ecstasy in Christian Perspective (New York: Image, 1986), 98.