Why We Celebrate

Several years ago I got a job working for a large retailer for the Christmas holiday.  I had been a stay at home mom up until then.  I was in for a rude awakening.
When I was hired, I was given a half-inch thick cluster of papers on how this company could not discriminate against any religious practices.  As I held it in my hand, I told the woman that did the schedules when I needed to be off so I could attend Mass.  She looked at me in total amazement and said, "If every one was allowed to attend church on Sunday, no one would be in the store!" 
I should have left right then and there, but I didn't.
I dutifully showed up for work and adjusted my schedule to go to church when I could.  But it was difficult.  I would look at the clock while I was at work, knowing that Mass was starting and that I couldn't participate in my ministry and be with the people that I loved.  It broke my heart.
I was laid off after the holidays.  I viewed it as a failure to a certain extent, but I soon found another job.  When asked about my availability, I blurted out that my faith, my ministry and my church came first.  The woman who hired me, smiled and said, "No problem!"  And it's been that way ever since.
With Christmas fast approaching we often lose sight of why we're celebrating in the first place.  I love the holiday, I love the shopping, and I usually do lose sight of it's real meaning.  And then I think about that job and how I felt staring at that clock.  I still get emotional thinking about it because I think Jesus doesn't want me to ever forget why we celebrate.

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  • Reminds me of a time when I worked at a call center. Our director decided that our call volume was low on Good Friday so he started sending people home. First the non-christians got to go, then the non practicing catholics. I had to work the later shift and then rush to mass that evening.

  • It's a nice feeling when your employer supports you in your religion, isn't it? I work for a company owned by Christians. Every year, the entire company closes down between Christmas Eve and New Years Day. Yes, it's great to have the time off from work. But it's also a strong message to employees, saying: Take this time to observe the holy days, celebrate with your families, and immerse yourself in the joy and peace of the Christmas season.

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