Lost in Celebration

This year 2020 is coming to a close. I don’t think I am alone on feeling relieved that this very challenging year is finally ending. Perhaps many of us would even say “good riddance!” However, I still would like to make a wish as we conclude this year.

We were in Paris about this time last year for our 25th wedding anniversary and we were able to visit Sacre-Coeur Basilica. This church was built on top of butte Montemartre, which is the highest point of the city. When you’re there, you can have a panoramic view of Paris.

Besides visiting the church itself which is free, you can also climb up the dome of the Basilica for a little fee. But be prepared to climb more than 300 steps as there is no elevator.

I told my wife, with that kind of climb we should be the one being paid, not the one paying. But the “breath-taking,” both from being out of breath after going up the steps and also stunningly beautiful view on top of dome of the Basilica, I believe is worth the effort.

Above photo is from the top of the dome, and Eiffel Tower can be seen from the distance.

Inside the church are some display of the Nativity scenes, as it was Christmas season. Below is a photo of the manger scene. But notice that it was without the most important character. Do you see it?

Perhaps they were cleaning the Baby Jesus figurine or maybe they were repairing it, but the scene was just odd without it. Whether it was deliberate to take out the baby Jesus from the scene or not, for me it struck a poignant message.

How many times have we taken away Christ from Christmas? How many times have we turned Christmas into some other festivity except for what really it should be. It is quite sad that Santa Claus, the elves, reindeers, snowman, gifts, parties, and the whole commercialization of this holiday have become more popular than the real reason for the occasion.

For this Christmas, may Christ be the front and center of all our celebration. May we all have a Blessed Christmas and a Hopeful New Year.

**********

Added feature: Here’s a short clip of us climbing up the final steps to the dome of the Basilica. Pardon my breathlessness.

(*photos and videos taken with an iPhone)

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