The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found? – J. B. Priestley
For the first time in many years, I’m rushing Christmas. I feel like we all need a hit of that sweetness to lift our spirits. Last Friday, our date night consisted of a trip to Michael’s to buy Christmas decorations on sale. Yesterday, I did all of our Christmas shopping. All of it. I’m done. That never happens. We are always running around on Christmas Eve before the midnight Mass. Not this year.
I am working on a new Advent tradition here, too. I’m still going to use my matchbox calendar, but this year I think I’m going to print little messages to put into the boxes. The messages will herald what activity we will do for that day: a special meal, a service project, a handcraft.
If you’re feeling like you need a little Christmas, too, and you plan on heading over to do some shopping for Christmas gifts this weekend, you can click on the link below before going to Amazon and we will earn a commission! It only takes a moment to click through. We are so grateful to all of the people who clicked through the last couple of years.
“Kind words are a creative force, a power that concurs in the building up of all that is good, an energy that showers blessings on the world” – Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, SVD
God sends us the grace that we need in all situations. We have had a tough year here, and it just keeps getting tougher. We had an episode with Olivia during Mass and I was utterly wrung out by it. Wondering if I can ever be the mother she needs, if she will ever stop traumatizing the rest of the family… all while attempting to keep up a happy expression so that we continue to be a blessing rather than a burden to our parish and community.
Our daughter Cat texted on Sunday afternoon to catch up about her weekend. She had a table of guests on Saturday who somehow got around to talking with her about big families. She mentioned that she was the oldest of eleven. To her surprise and delight, they proposed a toast.
“To Cat’s Mom”.
I stood in the kitchen and sobbed for joy and gratitude, reading that perfect strangers had thought of me enough to wish me well. Those kind words changed my entire day. I felt uplifted and was able to cast off the sadness that was preventing me from giving my best to my family. They blessed me, and I was able to bless them. God sent exactly the nourishment I needed to get me – and everyone – through a day that might otherwise have broken me.
Pettiness is a luxury we cannot afford to indulge in. There is too much to do that is of real import. Small, everyday things that are radical and profound despite their smallness. We need to hold a hand, smile at a stranger. Say “Hello” and “How are you today?” and really want to know the answer. We need to teach our children to speak gently to each other, to apologize for wrongs. We need to perform everyday acts of love.
Life is too precious to squander even a passing thought on whether a designer ought to accept or refuse the commission of creating a dress for the new First Lady; or to be offended by what an actor said at the close of a performance. Our world has become so vast that we too often fail to see the one right in our own homes. And it is dying for lack of care. And if the family dies, so goes the world.
When we do pay attention to things outside our own circles, we must listen with our whole hearts and minds, we must look through the eyes of love and mercy. We must try to understand the sentiment and the true meaning of people’s words. We must not instantly react because reacting before consideration leads us nowhere. It doesn’t advance our understanding of each other. It leads to two people (or two groups) reacting to each other – reacting to the other person’s reactions. And that is a waste of time and energy that is much better spent giving hope, making peace, spreading joy, and loving.
Let this be our mantra: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love. Next Sunday is the first in the season of Advent. It is a time of reflection and renewal as we prepare to welcome the Christ Child. May we recognize Him and serve Him in the least of His people. The Poor, The Lonely, The Lost, The Sick.