THE LITTLE BLUE BOOK, ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS SEASONS

Dedicated to Bishop Ken Untener who was inspired to create the Little Books. There are several short reflections on the infancy narrative of St. Luke, that I enjoyed and think you all will also, food for thought.

JOY OF THE GOSPEL, On Nov. 24, 2013 Pope Francis issued a pastoral exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel) which urged a joyful proclamation of the Gospel to the world. “I INVITE ALL Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day,” wrote Pope Francis in the exhortation, whose publication came at the conclusion of the Year of Faith

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ZECHARIAH AND ELIZABETH go home. I’m not told where this is but later, when Mary visits their home, I learn that it was “a town of Judah” (the same part of the land as Jerusalem) in the “hill country.”

Elizabeth soon learns that she is pregnant, as the angel had promised, and she expresses heer joy at what God has done for her.  PRAYERS of THANKSGIVING are the easiest to say. Every day, even on bad days, I come across all sorts of things that can remind me of God’s goodness–trees, little children, warm water in the shower, the sound of birds, a good burger, the sun, moon, stars, a kindness someone does for me. (and I will add,”the beauty around me after a wet snow storm, when the trees and every bush is covered in white). If I keep my eyes open for them, I can catch lots of things I never really noticed as “gifts” before–things that deserve a simple word of thanks to God.  If I haven’t done it often enough this week, right now might be a good time for a prayer of thanksgiving to God.

SPEND SOME QUIET TIME WITH THE LORD

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FINDING JOY AT CHRISTMAS

We often feel Christmas should be a “sugar plum” day with no touch of sadness. We feel we mustn’t let the sad parts of our lives into this special day. Suffering spois it. Let only gladness fill the air.

BUT CONSIDER ANOTHER APPROACH: Instead of avoiding all the sadness and trying to create a Hallmark Christmas, savor the richness of a savior born into a broken world, for broken hearts, to bring healing.

This is the feast of a God who so loved this world-my world-with its better and worse. Let the love of this feast touch the better and the worse, and I’ll find a deep down joy that can bring tears to my eyes. This mixture fits the feast. The event as Bethlehem wasn’t a Disney World experience. It was a time of both bliss and sorrow.

The joy of Christmas is that light overcomes darkness. It’s the good news of the angel to the shepherds: Today a savior has been born for you…for all that is happy in you, and all that is sad in you. Don’t hide the sad feelings. For some, it is the first Christmas with a newborn child or a grandchild. For others, it is the first Christmas without  their mother, father, husband, wife, child, close friend. For all of us it is Christmas celebrated in imperfect lives in an imperfect world.

WHEN WE remember who Jesus was and why he came, we can let him come into our real life, and then experience what it means to have a merry Christmas.

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SPEND SOME QUIET TIME WITH THE LORD.

More another time……………………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HAPPY NEW YEAR-ARE YOU WILLING TO FOLLOW JESUS?

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

SIMEON NOW SPEAKS TO THE MOTHER OF THIS LITTLE CHILD HE IS HOLDING IN HIS ARMS. He is looking ahead to the division between those who opt to follow Jesus, and those who do not.

Mary herself will have to make the decision to be on one side or the other. She is his mother, but will she become not only a mother who loves her child, but also someone who believes in the way of life that he preaches? That act of faith goes beyond family ties.

Mary made the decision. The Gospels show her relating to Jesus not only as his mother, but also as his disciple-a difficult bridge to cross. Pope Paul VI described her as the first and most faithful disciple.

All of us have to cross this bridge.  There is a “sword of division” between those who simply admire Jesus…and those who are willing to follow Jesus.

WHICH RAISES THE QUESTION: HAVE I CROSSED THAT BRIDGE?

TALK TO THE LORD ABOUT IT.

HAVE A HAPPY AND HOLY NEW YEAR. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!