He has arrived!
Jesus is here!
We are together!
December 24th, 2016
Watching, waiting, and then the door opened, they had arrived!
At 6 p.m. last night, everyone had arrived and we were together. A week earlier, college kids finished their finals and one by one they arrived. A historic snowstorm dropped 28 inches, closed schools for 3 days, I fussed and prayed, and they safely arrived. Our eldest daughters finished work, packed their cars and traveled across the state, I fussed, and they safely arrived. Last night, everyone had arrived and we were together.
Each year, we celebrate Christmas in a lodge at the edge of Yellowstone. This wonderful place is literally where the road stops in the winter. We gather together and being together makes this home. All counted, that means 15 people, 2-9-2-2, two parents, nine children, one spouse and one almost spouse, and two grandchildren.
When the door opened last night, it was announced with laughter and shouting, “They’re here!” Hugging was followed by dinner, which was followed by the opening of the nativity scene. The evening had just begun! We opened family gifts (gifts we all share) and then the games began. When I went to bed at midnight, the babies were asleep and the party was kicking in to high gear. Satisfied, I slept well.
It reminded me of the first Christmas, Mary and Joseph traveled and once Jesus was born, the party began. Finally, the family was together. In that moment, heaven and earth met and the divide of sin disappeared. The angels sang, the shepherds came and everyone was home! The magi had received their invitation early and set out for the long journey but then they arrived, there were shouts of joy – they had safely arrived! Everyone was home!
In Bethlehem, imagine the sharing of stories, as the shepherds told Joseph and Mary of the hosts of angels singing “Hosanna to God in the Highest.” The family gifts were being opened, gifts that all can share. May our families enjoy those gifts today! Celebrate the blessings of being together today knowing that with the birth of Jesus, our human family is complete, he is arrived. We are together!
May the Joy of the Christ be born in your life this Christmas!
"Let me look that up."
December 14, 2014
Why don’t we light the pink candle last? Why is there a pink candle? My response to the children’s question every year is the same, “ Just a minute, let me look it up.”
I hate to admit it but I can never remember the answer. This year was no different and as children were excited to light this beautiful pink candle, my response was the same. I thought I would spend a little time on the subject and share it with you.
The pink candle celebrates Gaudete Sunday and its message is “Rejoice!” The tradition of the Church is that advent should be a time of intense spiritual preparation for the Feast of Christ’s Birth. Advent through the lens of tradition is more similar to Lent, a time of prayer and fasting. In our world, the celebration of Christmas begins the midnight of Thanksgiving and is marked with intense buying, stress, and baking.
We can look to the pink candle of the week and remind ourselves that it is time to rejoice, not because the work is almost finished, shipping time has run out, or it is time for the office Christmas party. It is time to rejoice because Our Lord, Jesus’ birth is almost here. Maybe I understand better why I always have to look up Gaudete Sunday, I am not participating well in the preparation time known as Advent.
The Good News - we still have time! It is time to settle our hearts. We can grow much in the time we have left, 10 days. In that time, we can truly appreciate the gift of Jesus. Immanuel, God who is with us! Yes, time has run out, or soon will, for all the details and jobs on our “To Do” lists; however, we do have something to do. We need to prepare! We need to prepare our hearts and minds to receive the gift of Jesus! Mary received Jesus in the greatest humility bearing Him as she did and laying Him in a manger. Our secular goals are different. We seek to offer our guests and ourselves: great food, a beautifully decorated house, and one that is immaculate. That is not the point! Let us gain release from the emptiness of this vain expectation, the distraction that comes from “one more thing to do”, the pain of excess, and Rejoice!
Rejoice in the beauty of God’s Plan for Salvation!
Rejoice in the desire of God to reconcile us to Himself!
Rejoice in the Divinity and Humanity of Jesus!
Rejoice in the Blessed Sacrifice of Jesus!
Rejoice in the Gift of the Immaculate Conception!
Rejoice in His gift of Mary as Our Mother!
Rejoice in the great gift of His Church!
Rejoice in the goodness of God!
Rejoice in our freedom to Worship and Celebrate Him!
Rejoice in the generosity of God!
Rejoice in the gift of our families!
Rejoice in the joy of friends!
Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!