Friday, December 31, 2010

Merry "Tweleve Days of " Christmas!

Greetings of the Season!
I know this post should have been written days
ago,but this proves once again that I am a firm believer in the 12 days of Christmas!

I did have a very nice Christmas Day ~ it is a
beautiful feast and time of the year! One of my very favorite Christmas songs is "O Holy Night" with the lines ..."Till he appear'd and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices ..." Emmanuel ~ God with us ... What a wonderful gift!
Time seems to be disappearing on me these days, but I could not let another day go by without some Christmas greeting on this last day of 2010 ... I share wit
h you a poem that I have had for a couple of years and also some Christmas pictures in my local community with the Sisters I live with. We had a great celebration of the day and then joined some BVM friends (Srs. of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary) for dinner. We have shared holidays with these Sisters for many years now.... So the poem and the pictures ....
Christmas is more than a day at the end of the year, more that a day of joy and good cheer. Christmas is really God's pattern for living, to be followed each day by unselfish giving. Then Peace will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.
~ Author Unknown
And a saying I have remembered from years ago ...Christmas - an everyday season of the heart!
I hope you had a wonder-filled
one and I wish you many blessings as we bid 2010 goodbye and usher in a New Year! Peace and All Good!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Advent Invites Adventure!

Adventure ~
ad-ven-ture 1: a risky undertaking
2: a remarkable and exciting experience

As we begin this fourth week of Advent several thoughts and ideas run through my mind about this beautiful season of the year. A couple of weeks ago I just wanted to see what the dictionary said for the word Advent and discovered that the word "adventure" was only two words down from Advent in my Webster Dictionary. To me, the two words really are related!
Are we not invited to a risky undertaking when we set time apart for more prayer and some introspection to see how we can prepare our hearts for the coming of Christmas? Is not this time of preparation for Christmas a call to growth and the discovery of what a remarkable and exciting experience
the life of Jesus - the light that powers over dark - can bring us if we are open to the adventure!?!
As a Christian I am invited again and again
to take a risk ... to take the risk ... to reach out to others around me who might "walk in darkness", who maybe are not as fortunate as I am, who perhaps have stumbled into difficult times, who might feel sad and lonely and even disconnected and try to bring them a bit of love and care that was manifested on that first Christmas day. I have felt that way - at a low ebb at different times in my life and have been blessed with others who cared and brought me the light of God.
The little picture/poster shown above is
just such an example ... In 1989 I was teaching 4th grade at St. Charles School in Spokane , WA. At one point of the year I was feeling rather down, "disconnected", in the dark about some things in life and in community - I didn't think it showed especially when I was involved in the teaching day. Well, one morning one of my beautiful students brought in the pictured banner/poster shown above for me. I was totally shocked! It was exactly what I needed ... and I asked Alicia how it came about ~ what got her to do it?? Her response was so innocent and spontaneous: "Oh, I don't know ... I was watching TV last night and it just popped into my head, so I did it! ...and I want you to have it." WOW! Light powers over Dark ...... as God powers over EVEL (evil). That was pretty profound for a fourth grader. I know that little girl allowed the light of God to work in her life and she touched my life immensely!
This morning on my way to work I switched the radio to the Catholic radio station. It is the tradition of KBVM to broadcast the story, The Cinnamon Bear
- a classic 1937 story of the adventures of Judy and Jimmy Barton who have set out and are trying to find their missing silver star for the Christmas tree. I don't think I have ever heard the whole story, just snippets from year to year. Anyway, this morning fifteen words made an impact on my ears and heart as one of the characters said, "What I mean is - It's dark inside of me when I have my eyes closed." As we continue the journey through these last days of Advent, may we be people of the light, with our eyes wide open ready to take a risk and know of God's remarkable and exciting experience of the birth of Jesus ... O Come, O Come Emmanuel!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Advent Awareness

Advent, that time of waiting for the coming of Christ and the celebration of Christmas. Advent, a time of preparation and anticipation ... This season of Advent has already revealed a new awareness or two for me, as well as teaching me a few lessons on the patience of waiting ...

On November 30th - the first Tuesday of Advent, I went in for some surgery on my lower leg to remove part of a benign tumor. I had been anticipating this surgery for a long time with great anxiety, but everything went fine and and I got to come home that very afternoon. However, I am now hobbling along and needing to keep my leg elevated as much as possible. I am not use to this kind of inactivity - I've needed to learn patience with myself and my inability to do what I am use to doing ... for awhile anyway. Oh how I miss my brisk walks! I wait for the day to be able to go w
alking again.
I also am in a waiting mode for the lab report. The lab work was sent out to the Cleveland Clinic ~ just to make sure of things ...
probably a two week wait. Anyway, circumstances like these add a good perspective to life that is for sure!

So, while I have been "down" I have started reading a book by Sr. Joan Chittister
(The Gift of Years if you are really curious). In the introduction she used a quote by E.M. Forester that I have heard before and do like: "We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.".
There is a lot of truth to Forester's words. So often we have all kinds of plans and they get interrupted or changed for one reason or another. Things happen! I travel a lot as you probably have gathered, and sometimes travel planes get messed up. There is a delay and I miss the flight, but then end up getting a meal paid for by the airlines and meeti
ng someone that was totally unexpected that added a nice surprise to the trip enriching my life. I am sure you can think of other great examples when "plans" took unexpected detours that really were better - there is lots of life waiting for us if we "let go" instead of fretting and stewing which I so often have the tendency to do!
And you know, in some ways that is part of what Advent is all about!
A time like this Advent season helps to give us a pause in life ... to step back a bit and come to a better understanding of what it means to "Let go and let God". We certainly have a wonderful example of that in the Blessed Virgin Mary (whose feast we celebrated yesterday) in her beautiful "fiat" - her yes to God! She let go of the life she thought would be, to then embrace the awesome life that was waiting for her!

In our Franciscan Morn
ing Praise for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the second reading was from St. Bonaventure who wrote: "...the Archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin ...When she gave her consent to him, the Holy Spirit came upon her like a divine fire inflaming her soul and sanctifying her flesh in perfect purity. But the power of the Most High overshadowed her so that she could endure such fire." (The Tree of Life-Lig vit 1:3)
May each of us know many Advent blessings as we prepare for Christmas so that we also might be receptive to the power of God working in our lives and be prepared for the life that is waiting!