Tag Archives: Christmas

Placing Ourselves in the Nativity Scene

One of the cherished Christmas gifts from my childhood is a simple, plastic nativity set. My grandparents gave it to me when I was eight or nine. It has traveled from my room when I was growing up to my college dorm and to now my office at the seminary. Each year I enjoy getting it out in Advent and arranging the figures. And each year I am confronted with two questions: Do I put the baby Jesus out before Christmas? And, do I put the three wise men out before the Epiphany? Recently, I …

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Magi or Shepherd?

If you were given your choice as to which part you would play in the pageantry of the Christmas story, would you rather be a magi (king, wise man) or a shepherd? Before you read on, answer that question for yourself and ponder why you chose what you chose. The magi and the shepherds have some things in common. Both came to believe that Jesus was the Savior. Both found him in the manger. How they got there – how they came to that conclusion and how they came to that place – was quite …

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A joyous and blessed Christmas to you and yours! “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest …

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Gratitude, Hope, Joy?

There are three beautifully wrapped gifts on a table in front of you. One has a tag marked, “Gratitude.” Another is tagged, “Hope.” The third is, “Joy.” Answer quickly, without thinking. Ready? Without thinking, answer, “Which gift has God given to you this year?” Those three wrapped gifts from God: which one would you like for God to give to someone else at Christmas?

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Christmas is a Season

Christmas only begins on December 25th. Pope Francis expressed in his Dec. 2 homily – “Christmas isn’t just a temporal celebration or the memory of a beautiful; Christmas is more…Christmas is an encounter!” In order to highlight the entire season of Christmas, we are hosting a giveaway that will end when the season of Christmas ends, on January 12th, 2014 Enter to win a Roku! Roku is a little box that makes it easy to enjoy the hottest movies, TV shows, music, games and more on your TV by streaming it directly from the Internet. …

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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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The Christmas Season

One of the many beauties of our Catholic liturgy is the “seasons” that we celebrate for the two great events of our saving history: Christmas and Easter.  First we spend a relatively long period of time preparing to celebrate them by getting ourselves and our parish community “in the mood” so these feasts impact our lives as individuals and parishes. Secondly, we celebrate the feasts not for just a single day but for many days. I recall a Christmas season that was full of some difficult experiences. My mother had died recently and if ever …

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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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“Is Jesus In It?”

A couple years ago, my wife and I decided my then 2 year old daughter was old enough to watch a 30 minute Christmas cartoon.  We only had a few to choose from on DVD, but as we thought of many of the popular ones, we were concerned they all had things in them too scary for a two-year old.  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer had the Abominable Snow Monster, Santa Claus is Coming to Town had Winter Warlock… so eventually we settled on Frosty the Snowman. So we excitedly told Ellie that we had a …

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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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