I know a lot of Christians who see the birth of Christ, Christmas, as the defining moment of their faith, and I guess if you work retail that's an attractive argument. As a child growing up in Holy Mother Church in the late Fifties and Sixties, I knew (and had plenty of nuns, Sister of Charity type, if I were to forget) for Catholics it was the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus.
I can still remember Sister Thomas Anne faintly smiling as she ticked off the three events on the fingers of her right hand: pinkie, ring finger and middle finger (how ironic is that? (I'm lying, third graders had no concept of the significance of the middle finger, not even Bobby D'Alonzo who was a pretty fast crowd all by himself)).
She would pause as she noted the similarity to the Holy Trinity, three persons in the One God. When I watched her do this same explanation, with the pregnant pause in the same place, complete with the slow smile of accidental recognition of her triad point for the next five years, there was still a sign, but the wonder was gone.
And yet, I suspect she, too, is smiling today. It is Good Friday, a day of such momentous import to so many disparate elements of our historical, philosophic and cultural identity where, no matter your belief, or disbelief, you can take solace from the perfect sacrifice of the Son of God who became the Son of Man and laid down His life. Even if you have wounds that can never heal, you can, if only for today, have hope, knowing there is a tomorrow.