Tag Archives: Advent

Responding to the Unborn

Being in the third trimester of pregnancy encourages all sorts of people – friends, acquaintances, strangers – to share their advice and good wishes.  It’s wonderful to see how excited people become at the thought of a new baby in the world, but there is one comment shared quite frequently that has given me pause. When I say that we do not know if our baby is a boy or a girl, the typical response is, “As long as you have a healthy baby … that’s all that matters.” This sentiment has been expressed to …

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Christ at the Center: Home Edition

December 22, 2013: Fourth Sunday of Advent Gospel: Matthew 1:18-24 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife …

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Waiting for Christmas in Silence. Or Not.

Growing up in my Croatia, I didn’t know there was such a thing as Advent. Christmas Eve came quietly. Our city streets and lamp-posts weren’t gleaming with millions of string lights during the darkest time of winter. Christmas was wrapped in a mystery, known only to those who believed. Perhaps that’s why I love the American tradition of decorating houses shortly after Thanksgiving, playing Christmas music on the radio, putting up lights and trimmed up trees on city squares and corners, watching people getting into the holiday spirit – everyone in their own way… Some …

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Sanctuary

When I was 16 my extended family took a trip to Arizona to visit one of my mom’s cousins, who was celebrating 25 years as a missionary on the Navajo Indian Reservation.  On the way, we stopped at a place called Canyon de Chelly, which some folks call the Little Grand Canyon.  It’s about a 2 mile hike to the bottom, and a few of us decided to make the trek.  By about 1/2 way down all but three of us had bailed and gone back up to the canyon rim.  And at that point, …

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1st Sunday of Advent: Happy New Liturgical Year!

The word “advent” means “coming”. The Church teaches us that during Advent we wait for two comings of Christ: we prepare to celebrate Christmas, when Christ first came into the world; and, we wait for Christ’s second coming at the end of time. (See General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar, Paragraph 39, from Documents on  the Liturgy, 1963-1979, Conciliar, Papal and Curial Texts © 1982, ICEL.) Advent begins at sundown the eve of the fourth Sunday before Christmas and concludes at sundown on Christmas Eve.  The First Sunday of Advent also heralds the …

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Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room

I have a very special memory of something that happened to me as a little child.  On Christmas Eve, Mom brought down from the attic the banged-up, musty, ancient cardboard box. Inside were all the Christmas ornaments and decorations. Each had been lovingly, tenderly wrapped in tissue paper and placed in the carton the year before just as they had been placed there the year before that and the year before that. Out of this moldering treasure chest I plucked out an equally ancient music box that was shaped like a church. It was white …

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Why We Need the Self-Awareness of a Three-Year-Old

“This says it is from the North Pole.  Do we know anyone at the North Pole?”    Our daughter didn’t even have to answer the question with words.   Instead, I watched all of the energy in her body move to her face, thus producing a massive baby-toothed grin.  But her face could not contain her joy.  She threw her arms jerkily in the air and let out several excited shrieks, while engaging in a series of unrhythmic dances.    Her anticipation for the coming of Santa, which leads to her wake up early every morning …

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Where 2 or 3 Are Gathered: Home Edition

December 23: Fourth Sunday of Advent Gospel: Luke 1:39-45 Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment …

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Don’t Panic!

Are you panicking yet?!  It’s almost here – are you ready?! I will admit to a few moments of anxiety myself these last couple of weeks.   Yikes!  I thought – we’re nowhere near ready!  But any sense of panic is balanced by the realization that Advent is a journey, and Christmas really isn’t THE final destination. We want the holiday to be special, sure, but in so many ways it is just a metaphor for what is (or should be) taking place in our life overall. So, rather than on Christmas Day, perhaps this season’s …

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Advent Thoughts

This is the time of year when many in the Catholic community rant and rave about the evils of the way our society celebrates Christmas. We complain about how early it starts and how commercial it is.  We berate others and ourselves about how busy we are and how many things we set up for ourselves to do. It seems that we want to make ourselves and others feel guilty. Another criticism made is how much our economy depends on Christmas sales. We are told that we need to go out and buy or the …

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