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Showing posts with the label Christmas

Christmas, Octaves and History

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The American holiday and Christmas seasons overlap, with fuzzy terminuses. Termini. Beginnings and endings. For some, Christmas starts with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. That fine old American tradition has been joined by Cyber Monday. Oddly enough, I haven't noticed anguished laments over that newfangled technology and Macy's inflated cartoon characters.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

It's A Wonderful Time Of The Year

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Wishing You and Yours Christmas Blessings

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Merry Christmas, one and all! I write to you today, wishing you Christmas blessings, because I intend to take Wednesday off and celebrate the day with my husband. I have much to be thankful for this year, having received many blessings throughout the year. However, I find the Christmas blessings that Christ bestows on us at this time of year to be very special. Christmas Blessings Peace  – Christ’s peace is ever present, but especially prescient at this time of year. We celebrate the Incarnation of Christ on this day. The revelation of God made man for our sakes, to free us from sin and death, is mind-boggling. Yet, Christ came to bring us Peace. Joy  – Knowing God’s immense love for each of us should bring us a deep and abiding sense of joy. Who else could love us that much to send His only Son to save us from sin and death? Read more...

Embrace the Goodness of Charity This Christmas

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You know the saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Perhaps what you did not know was that this adage comes from Scripture. Saint Paul made this comment while giving a farewell speech to the people of Miletus. He instructed them on the importance of helping the weak. For, it is through the goodness of charity, that we make life more bearable for others. In return, we experience inner peace and joy because of the goodness of our actions. How to Embrace the Goodness of Charity Christmas is a wonderful time to step outside of our comfort zones and pay heed to the less fortunate; to make their lives more bearable; to strengthen the weak. Here are some ways in which you can bring the goodness of charity to others: Read more...

Find Joy This Christmas Season

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Joy is a deep and lasting feeling of contentment and happiness graced by the Holy Spirit. For me, deep and abiding joy comes to me when I reflect on God’s love for me – that unconditional love that will never end. I also experience a deep and abiding sense of joy when I think of how much my husband loves me, because his love for me is a manifestation of God’s love for me. My list could go on, but I have a question for you. How do you find joy in your life? Christmas – The Season of Joy We also find joy at Christmastime, when we reflect on the Word made flesh – the Incarnation. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16). Knowing that God loves us so much that He would sacrifice His Son to death by a Cross, for our sins, is a love unmatched by anyone. This love brings us ... Read more...

Molly McBride and the Christmas Pageant - Book Review

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Jean Schoonover-Egolf does it again, with the fourth installment of the Molly McBride series. She continuously brings entertaining, yet educational stories to children, teaching them a different virtue in each book. In  Molly McBride and the Christmas Pageant , Molly learns all about the virtue of obedience. She has her heart set on taking the leading role of “Mary” in the Christmas pageant, only to learn she has been assigned the role of a sheep! Now, let’s be honest. That’s quite a letdown, if you ask me, especially when you think you deserve the leading role. Yet, we see as the story progresses how important it is for us to be obedient to authority. Molly McBride Learns About Obedience Molly’s teacher helps Molly see the need for obedience. The teacher shows Molly the manger and tells Molly about Mary. She explains what it was like for Mary at such a young age to say “yes” to God and become the mother of Jesus. Molly comes to understand... Read more...

Wishing You God's Love This Christmas

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Merry Christmas! As we celebrate the birth of Christ, let us remember the reason for the Incarnation of God made man. Out of sheer unconditional love for mankind, “ God gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life ” (John 3:16). Therefore, through the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary conceived Jesus in her womb, and He entered humanity. The Father sent His Son to conquer sin and death for us, so that we might live eternally with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Why did God go through so much trouble? Because He loves each one of us – unconditionally!!! The depth of God’s love is unfathomable because “ God is love ” (1 John 4:8). God’s love is available to us all! The gift of God’s love is available to us all, every day, not only at Christmas. No matter what we have done, or will do, that goes against His will, He will continue to love us unconditionally. Why? Because He wants to have loving relationships with each one of us.

Christmas Presents

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I WONDER WHAT CHRISTMAS PRESENTS YOU GOT? CAN YOU GUESS WHAT I GOT? CLICK HERE

Celebrating Ever Since

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We hear quite a bit of Luke 2 during the Christmas Masses, including this.... ...The shepherds went to see what was going on, and liked what they saw. So did the magi and Simeon. Jesus didn't stay in the manger, of course.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

Bah! Humbug?

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'Tis the season to kvetch about Christmas: because it's too commercial, too religious, or whatever. I won't do that. I'll look at why we celebrate instead. Also Scrooge and "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Besides, I think enjoying the holiday and doing what I say I believe makes more sense...." More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

Secretly Cynical, Surprised by Joy on Christmas Morning

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Do we wait for Christmas morning with a joyful expectation or has life’s disappointments left us jaded and closed to any spiritual surprises or gifts from God? Many of us are actually just like Scrooge, that traditional symbol for someone who has been so wounded by disappointment and jaded by life that he cannot embrace the spirit of giving during Christmas. Scrooge wasn’t just stingy, he was miserable, with his heart closed to other people and to love and joy. Come to think of it, how many of us actually expect to receive any spiritual joy on Christmas morning? When we are secretly cynical, we will not receive a thing, not even a tiny flicker of Light because we have locked the door to our hearts. Then, our cynicism will be confirmed once again, just like last year and we will cement our cynicism in place until next year. Yet we all long for the dark, empty places within us to be flooded with His light. The answer to our dilemma can be discovered when we observe children becau

'Both Son of God and Son of Man together had one name.' Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday of Advent and Christmas

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The Annunciation, El Greco [ Web Gallery of Art ] Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) Gospel Luke 1:26-38 ( NRSV, CatholicEd ) In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be

What Does Jesus Want for His Birthday?

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As we near Christmas Day, I want to take some time to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas! May the celebration of the Incarnation of Christ fill your hearts with His Love, Peace, Joy and Hope. At Christmas, Jesus showers us with many virtues, as His gifts to us. What do you think Jesus would like from you, in return, as His birthday present from you? Maybe He would like for you to reach out to a relative, or neighbor, who is suffering. You could grace that person with caring compassion. Perhaps He would like for you to forgive a co-worker, or friend, who has wronged you. You could extend that person a little mercy. Might it be a donation to the local food bank/homeless shelter?  Consider giving kindness and comfort to those in need. Or perhaps Jesus wants you to open your own heart, in faith and trust, so that He can heal you of a longstanding inner pain. What does Jesus want for His birthday? Have you ever given that any thought?... Read more...

Infertility, Healing and the Gift of Baby Jesus at Christmas

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By Laura Durant There are many reasons why Christmas is special to me, many reasons why it is the second most special time of the year for me (second only to Easter). However, last year, Christmas became infinitely more special.  The Gift of Peace in God’s Will My husband and I began trying to have a child after a couple of years into our marriage. That was eight years ago, and we have not been able to conceive. We have been to the Vitae Clinic in Austin, Texas, which I highly recommend to anyone trying to conceive. While we were not able to become pregnant ourselves, I know many people who have through the help of this wonderful clinic. They were always very kind, always mindful of the struggle we were going through. I could go on and on about the kind and thoughtful ways in which they treated us and others struggling with infertility, but that is the subject for a different blog. After some time, and with a sense of peace from God to do so, we decided to discontinue try

Time to Get Ready, An Advent, Christmas Reader to Wake Your Soul – Book Review

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As we bravely embark on completing all the “tasks” needed to make Christmas merry, we sometimes fail to forget the real reason for the Christmas season. You purchase gifts for everyone on your list. Let me share with you a gift that you will want to purchase for yourself, today! Time to Get Ready, An Advent, Christmas Reader to Wake Your Soul , by Mark A. Villano is a treasure that you will cherish for years to come! Amid the holiday hustle and bustle, Villano gives us a daily retreat that takes only two to three minutes to read each day’s offering. It will spark the imagination and provide food for spiritual thought. Each day’s offering is filled with golden nuggets, helping us to make Advent more spiritual; less commercial. By interspersing Scripture with his own reflections on the biblical passages, Villano offers insight and encouragement. One of my favorite “golden nuggets” was: When we come to see how far God will go to save us, when we come to know how God sees us, how m

Mom Shop Hop--A Christmas Shopping Guide

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Looking forward to Christmas?  Get your shopping done now and enjoy Advent as a time of prayer and anticipation. What's more, this guide will help you find some amazing shops run by hardworking moms.  Support small business and families at the same time! Read more on Veils and Vocations!

Epiphany Sunday

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Statues 1 of Caspar , Melchior , and Balthazar started near the clock in our living room. I took those pictures of them on Wednesday. Their trip to the nativity scene ended today, Epiphany Sunday. We read about "magi from the east" in today's Gospel: Matthew 2:1 through 12 : " 1 When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, 2 behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, "saying, 'Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star 3 at its rising and have come to do him homage.'" ( Matthew 2:1 - 2 ) "Magi" is how μάγοι, mágoi, looks in my native language. That's the Greek version of an Old Persian word that would sound something like "magus" if I tried pronouncing it. More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

Film Review: The Spirit of Christmas

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My Christmas film reviews conclude with The Spirit of Christmas (2015) directed by David Jackson, and starring Thomas Beaudoin and Jen Lilley. This is an unusual addition to Lifetime's Christmas film catalogue---still a romance, but one that's part ghost story/part mystery. It seems an odd blend of genres for a Christmas film. Or perhaps not so odd when one considers the famous ghostly Christmas tale we're all familiar with, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carole . There are huge differences, of course. This is no Dickens classic, though it is still enjoyable. Also, this film's hero, Daniel (Thomas Beaudoin), is already dead. His journey of self-discovery, however, is similarly focused on exploring the ghosts of his past. The plot summary: big-city lawyer Kate (Jen Lilley) is tasked with arranging the sale of a deceased client's property before the new year. The house is actually an antique mansion in a small, snowy town upstate. Read the rest of the rev

"Good News of Great Joy"

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The Christmas Mass marathon — that's not what it's called — started yesterday with the Vigil Mass. Mass During the Night was next, followed by Mass at Dawn and Mass During the Day. I didn't go to all four, I don't know how many folks do, but I looked up the Gospel readings for each.... "...We heard parts of the Vigil Mass Gospel last week. That's Matthew 1:18 - 24 , when Joseph learns why Mary is pregnant...." More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

Reflections on the Carol: "O Holy Night"

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O Holy Night  is my hands-down favorite Christmas hymn and much to my children's chagrin I can listen to it over and over and over again (especially if Josh Groban is crooning it). This song is rich in meaning and has provided much over the years for me to meditate on and pray about. Click here to read my reflections on  a few of it's most powerful lines.....