Thursday, January 5, 2012

It is still Christmas...until tomorrow!

If you had visited me during the weeks preceding Christmas Day, you would not have seen a Christmas tree or a single Christmas decoration or light anywhere in our house.  No, we were not feeling "scroogey".  Nor were we in any way "grinchy", though I think some people may have thought so, because even atheists decorate for Christmas.  They, not believing in the Birth of Christ, of course, prefer instead to focus on the family-oriented, gift-giving side of the holiday.  This is Ridiculous (Why yes, I did mean to capitalize that word, thank you!), because Christmas means NOTHING apart from the miracle of the Virgin Birth of God the Son, and the word family is meaningless without God, who is in Himself a family.

Contrary to what department stores and your local Target would have you believe, Christmastime does not begin the day after Halloween, nor even the day after Thanksgiving when bargain hunters everywhere forsake their warm beds to get the best deals at their favorite stores in the wee hours of the morning.  I am not saying this is evil, far from it.  In fact, I admire those women who can finish all of their Christmas shopping in one day and can then relax the rest of the time until Christmas.  I certainly do not have it in me to brave long lines, flying elbows, and freezing temperatures just to save a few bucks.  I would much rather snuggle in bed with a warm, sweet-smelling baby and order gifts online in my jammies.

Where was I?  Oh, yes!  Advent.  Advent is the period of time preceding Christmas.  We add straws representing good deeds to Baby Jesus' manger so as to make a soft bed for him, light our Advent candles as we sing "O Come, Emmanuel", and generally try to spend the season as quietly as we can, preparing our souls and our home for the coming of The King.  On the last Sunday of Advent, we put up our tree and the kids decorate it however they will.  This year, Princess Pea, now seven, took charge and told the younger kids where all the ornaments should go.  Obviously unsatisfied with their first attempt, Princess Pea rearranged the ornaments for several days in a row (making me wonder if my eyesight or my mind was going because the tree was different every time I looked at it) until she finally settled on an artistic arrangement which included all of the glass ball ornaments being displayed on the very bottom branches and several bird ornaments at the very top.  On Christmas Eve, we went to Mass earlier in the evening, because there was no Midnight Mass near us, and sang with joy for the coming of our Saviour.  Then we returned home for a light dinner and bed.

The next morning, we had four children in our bed before the sun came up, three of whom were excitedly jumping up and down in anticipation of seeing the tree all lit up with presents beneath and the Baby Jesus in his manger.  Indeed, they were not disappointed.  Each one gasped when first they saw it as they went downstairs.  Oh, what a joy it was to see their eyes alight on Christmas morning!   How much more does our Heavenly Father delight in giving gifts to His children, He being perfect and we mere mortals. 

Presents unwrapped and "thank yous" ringing (for the children know from whom every gift comes, as Good St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra brings them treats and trinkets on his feast day of December 6 and not on Christmas), we dress in our best and spend the day feasting.  That is the first day of Christmas.  The very last is tomorrow, the Feast of the Epiphany, in which we celebrate the coming of the Magi to the Christ Child.  I will tell you more about it in my post for tomorrow, but not here.  You will have to go to for that...

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Happy Third Birthday to my sweet, sassy, beautiful, brave girl!  Mama loves you, baby!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Merry Christmas!  Today is the tenth day of Christmas.  Is your tree still up?  Mine is!

Last Sunday, January the first, was the Octave of Christmas and the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God - a day in which we celebrate Mary's eternal motherhood.  She was born to be Mother - a vocation she attained by perfect obedience.  It is vitally important that we honor that motherhood which did not end when Christ died on the cross, but which transcends time.  Nowadays, human life is treated so cheaply.  Motherhood is too often perceived as a despised burden, one to be avoided at any cost rather than welcomed with joy and trust in our God.  We think we have it so tough, don't we?  But here is this girl who is humble and poor, and yet, God chose her before she was even born.   The King of the Universe chose her and set her apart for a holy purpose, preparing her for the choice she would one day be asked to make - Motherhood.  She chose to be the Mother of God's Son, with all the pain and suffering and joy that comes with that choice.  

Do you doubt that Mary is the Theotokos, the Mother of God?  Jesus the Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb.  She gave birth to Jesus.  Since a person cannot carry or give birth to a nature, but to a person, Mary is Jesus' mother.  So...

Mary is Jesus' mother.  
Jesus is God.  
Therefore, Mary is the Mother of God.  

Through Baptism, we are adopted into His family, thus becoming Jesus' brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of the Father, and sons and daughters of His Mother. Jesus Himself commanded us, "Behold your mother."  Our Lord was ever obedient to the law and honored His parents in every way.  When we do not honor His mother, our Mother, whom He LOVES, we disobey God's commandment. 

Why is this so important today?  I like the way G.K. Chesterton put it,

"Mary leads us to Christ, but Christ leads us back to His Mother, for without Mary's maternity, Jesus would become a mere abstraction to us."

God loves us, loves YOU so much that He gave His Only Begotten Son, born in a manger to a Virgin of the most humble nature.  His Love radiated in every miracle, culminating in the sacrifice on Calvary.  But He did not stop there!  Oh, no!  For God is a loving Father who cares for every need.  He did not leave us orphans, but gave us His Spirit to guide us and His Mother as our own.  His mommy is our mommy.

Mary's maternity is a gift from God, not just to her, but to all of us in every time.  Because of it, the coming of the Messiah is not an abstract idea, but a fact.  More than that, a person. 
God's Son.
Son of Mary.
Jesus Christ

Not so incidentally, today is the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.  Because of his humility and selfless obedience to God the Father, He was exalted and His name made above every name,

"...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." 
- Phil 2:10-11

Mary is ever pointing toward her Son, saying, "Do whatever he tells you." 

I am blessed with a loving relationship with my earthly mother.  We talk nearly every day.  In the past few months we have become more than Mother and Daughter.  I see her as my friend, one of my very best friends.  I believe with my whole heart that this would not have been possible if I had not obeyed Our Lord and accepted His Mother as my own.  When I did that, I was able to pray for my mom in a whole new way.  I asked God to bless her in wonderful ways.  I asked Him to woo her back to the Mass.  I took all of my hurt and pride, laid it at the foot of the cross, and then went and cried on Mother Mary's knee.

My mother recently came back to the Church after being away for many, many years.  As she tells it, she was talking to her priest, the same one who presided over my husband and my Sacrament of Marriage nearly ten years ago.  She told the priest that she cried every time she was at Mass.  He told her that it was not surprising, for she was falling in love with Jesus all over again.     I know what he means, for I have wept in the presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament - tears of joy and of sorrow and of love - fully aware of the fact that I am unworthy that He should enter under my roof, but desiring Him all the same.  I am where I am because I obeyed Christ and love His Mother.  I am where I am because I love Mary and obey Her Son. 

Praise God for Mary's maternity, for my mother's maternity, and for my own!

Now, if it's not too much trouble, Lord, would you please get to work on my dad?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Today, I will...

A new year has dawned.  Yesterday is gone.

But today...

Today, I will store His Word in my heart.
Today, I will pray.
Today, I will bow my head in His Presence. 
Today, I will carry my cross.
Today, I will seek Him.
Today, I will take the narrow way.
Today, I will continue to run my race with the intent to win.
Today, I will show my children how to love God.

Today, I will read.  
Today, I will write.  
Today, I will sing.
Today, I will dance.
Today, I will enjoy nature.
 Today, I will teach my children how to praise God. 

Today, I will let God be God.
Today, I will not despair or be disquieted.
Today, I will not worry about tomorrow.  
Today, I will teach my children that God can be trusted.

Today, I will delight in my children.
Today, I will hold them and kiss them.  
Today, I will be slow to anger.
Today, I will love their father.
Today, I will speak softly.
Today, I will listen to them.
Today, I will bless them.
Today, I will allow them to live with the consequences of their choices. 
Today, I will gently and firmly correct them.  
Today, I will model God's love for them.

Today, I will forgive.
Today, I will listen with my heart.  
Today, I will seek to understand.
Today, I will give without counting the cost.  
Today, I will serve - cheerfully and with my whole heart.
Today, I will do little things with great love.  
Today, I will be a blessing.

Today, I will be thankful.  
Today, I will be teachable. 
Today, I will not take offence.
Today, I will repent.
Today, I will ask for forgiveness.
Today, I surrender to His will.
Today, I will come to the Father like a little child.

Today, I will be joyful. 
Today, I will be courageous.
Today, I will cherish every moment as a gift from the Lord.

Today, I will soar.  

Tomorrow, I will begin anew.  Blessings in this new year.  Merry Christmas!