Thursday, December 25, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Two Christmas thoughts for you.
A wise person once told me two things:
First, never use the term Xmas. It takes the Christ out of Christmas.
Second, no one named Holly was born on December 25.
Next time you go to wish someone a Happy Holiday, wish them a Merry Christmas instead.
It might seem that way, but Pope Benedict XVI said it is not too good to be true.
In his general audience speech the other day, he made a few other comments I though offer great perspective on Christmas.
The Pontiff noted that Christmas -- as the "encounter with a newborn who cries in a miserable cave" -- can lead us to think of so many children who live in poverty, of infants who are rejected, and of families "who desire the joy of a child and do not see this hope fulfilled."
The birth of our Lord makes for a very beautiful story. The fact that the King of Kings was born in a stable rather than a castle reinforces everything Jesus stands for. But in reality, the Pope is right. Crying baby + miserable cave is not very storybook is it?
And Christmas, he said, "runs the risk of losing its spiritual significance to be reduced to a mere commercial occasion to buy and exchange gifts."
I think this one speaks for itself. It is so easy to get lost in everything worldly Christmas stands for. The presents, the beautiful decorations, the parties. But as Catholics, we must always keep Christ at the center of Christmas.
"Let us," he concluded, "ask most holy Mary, the tabernacle of the incarnate Word, and St. Joseph, silent witness to the events of salvation, to communicate to us the sentiments they had while they awaited the birth of Jesus, so that we can prepare ourselves to celebrate in a holy way the coming Christmas, in the joy of faith and enlivened by the determination of a sincere conversion."
We should all pray for this perspective as we get closer to Christmas.
Mary and Joseph, please help us prepare our hearts as you did.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I just came across a post at Simply Catholic that really made me stop and think.
A long time ago someone once told me that when Jesus died on the cross, the odds were that no one really noticed. What he meant was that this enormous event in our religion was just another daily occurrence for the people in those days. And the odds were, people were just going about their daily routines when Christ died to save us.
They missed it.
Simply Catholic posts about the same lesson, however, this time it is about the Holy Family's trip to Bethlehem. Click here to read it.
Please remember to keep Jesus front and center this Christmas season. Don't miss him!
I attended mass at a church other than my own this weekend, and the priest gave me a perspective I had never heard before.
Today's Gospel (John 1:6-8, 19-28) focuses on John the Baptist, and the priest told us that we are like hundreds of thousands of John the Baptists. All of us are preparing the way for Jesus, just like he did.
This makes perfect sense, but in all my years of learning, no one has ever put it in that light for me.
Sure, I've heard that we are like his apostles, like Paul, and like the many saints that have followed them. But in that light, we are trying to continue the ways of Jesus. If we think of ourselves as John, we are preparing the way for his second coming.
I found that slight tweak in perspective very interesting.
Of course, I cannot hold a candle to any of those mentioned above. But having multiple examples to follow surely helps me reflect on my role here on Earth.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I just finished reading a short book by Jim Bishop called The Day Christ was Born. In it, Bishop gives a biblically true recap of the events leading up to, and the people associated with, the birth of Christ. However, he adds a lot of detail and depth to the book that make you feel like you are reading an eyewitness account of that day. It's a quick read and really helped me focus on the true meaning of this Season.
It also helped me reflect on how both Mary and Joseph trusted in God from the very beginning. Did you ever stop and think about how much faith they had? I know I take it for granted.
They believed in the Immaculate Conception. (Could you imagine if your spouse went away for months and came back pregnant?)
They believed that their Son was to be the Messiah. (Remember, at the time everyone probably expected the Messiah to be born into royalty and power.)
They trusted God when he told then to go to Egypt - a foreign land to them - until Herod was dead. (Imagine traveling ... check that ... walking through a desert ... to a country where you do not know anyone, don't speak the language, and don't have a job lined up.)
These are certainly not small leaps of faith! And they serve as model examples for how we should lead our lives. Always trusting in our Father.
Friday, December 5, 2008
In one scene, Mary and Joesph are on their way to Bethlehem. Mary is very pregnant, and she and Joseph are mixing silence with wonder.
At one point, Joseph says “I wonder if I will even be able to teach [Jesus] anything.”
Simple enough quote right?
I think its brilliant. All my life I took for granted that Mary and Joseph knew everything that was going on. But this quote made me really ponder that. What if they weren’t quite sure what to expect (which is likely!). After all they knew they were giving birth to our Saviour. But what did that mean? Was he to look like a human baby or something more God-like? We have the luxury of knowing that he was to be just like us in appearance. But they didn’t know that yet! They probably didn’t know if he would be all-knowing. Nor did they know the extent of pain and suffering that he would go through for us.
So it would be perfectly logical for any nervous father-to-be to wonder what he could pass onto his son, let alone one that was to be the Earthly father of our Lord. Odds are he really did wonder if there was anything he could teach his Son.
I don’t know about you, but I love movies or books that help me paint pictures of what life was like in Jesus’ time. The Nativity Story, and Joseph’s quote in particular, really gave me some thoughts to ponder.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Hopefully everything will work out for the better. Please keep posting your comments!