Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas Actions Have Reactions

We are in the ‘Christmas Rush’ also known as shopping, mailing. wrapping gifts, sending greetings. making cookies, decorating the house inside and out, and having company or visitors.   As we exhaust ourselves getting all these things done, we sometimes miss the opportunity to worship and celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, the Reason for the Season.

Considering all the technological communications we have available to us today – phone landlines, cell phones  with message recorders, call waiting, call forwarding, smart phones, texting, emails, internet and pagers & faxes, so we can be sure to get that important message one way or another.    We don’t want to miss anything.   But are we missing the most important message  of all — God’s message to us?

He’s tried messaging through  prophets, angels, a humble, but full of grace Jewish maiden and finally by her son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, who is the Christmas Spirit we rejoice.  The Light of Jesus has transformed those who had walked in darkness.   “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”   John 8:12

Do most people listen to this Good News? Or are we too busy wrapping packages, making our list and checking it twice.   Maybe we have every day on the calendar filled with social events but have we included Jesus?  Can we have a party without the Guest of Honor?   Many of us do.    How can we include Christ and keep Him in Christmas?   What can we do to keep him in our hearts & minds?

We can forgive someone we are at odds with.   Or send a letter of forgiveness to someone whom we are angry and/or stopped talking to.

Could we make amends for some miscommunication or a bad attitude? Can we have our own epiphany over some matter that we saw only our side on?  Can a ‘light of revelation’ be found in the actions of others and our reaction to them?  Can we cause a chain reaction of kindness through our actions?  We might gather balm for others as well as for ourselves if we see matters in another “Light”.     You can be a “light’ to others by your actions, giving to charity, helping someone through a bad time or simply smiling and being kind.   It might be the only smile a person receives all day.

Once I had a dream in which God told me He was sending me a gift.  It was a very pleasant dream and shortly after, I received two meaningful gifts on the same day which could only be from God.  I wondered which one of them was the gift of my dream.   Off and on,  I wondered about this.

But which one was my ‘dream gift’?  They were equally wonderful.   One day, much later, I had an epiphany.  They were both from God as are many other blessings He has bestowed upon me,  Every thing good that He sends me is a gift.  And in His Wisdom, I felt He sent me two together, knowing I would ponder and wonder about it.  It took me awhile, but I got it.  All good things come frm God and All are His Gifts and I gave gratitude not just for one ~ but for all.   Your small gift or action can multiply by others’ reactions.

Christmas gifts don’t have to be expensive or big – they can be given from the heart with love and appreciation for the gifted.    I have read that the majority of us have issues or health or heavy matters surrounding them – a small gift to someone in need may instill like gifts to others.

Actions have reactions.  Also – no actions can have reactions.   Fix something in your life that is broken;  mend broken relationships or quietly aid others with  kindness or sharing good will or prayers for them.  If you want to keep it private, have a homemade prayer box and fill it with prayer requests for those in need – near or far.   You will have sent them the Light of Christ.

Pass along an action that an unsuspecting someone will react to with happiness ~especially if it will be a surprise.  It will be balm for both of you.

Will you read this and pass Him by — on your way to  preparing for the holidays?  Or will you pause, stop and share your heart and mind to the Light of Jesus and welcome Him into your life?  If you do, you will truly have a Joyous and Merry Christmas!

{C} Marie Coppola December  2017

 

What & When is Advent & Why do Christians Observe it?

 

The Four Weeks of Advent are the four weeks before Christmas on December 25th. Christmas is the day Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, which believers have done since about 400 AD. ‘Christ’ means ‘Messiah’ or ‘Anointed One’.

In the West today, the real meaning of Christmas is often forgotten. To many it has become or others want it to become a non-religious holiday. But the real Christmas story is found in the Bible. It is told in two different books: Matthew and Luke, Chapters 1 and 2.

If you have no Bible, you can read these chapters online. Some people actually believe that Christians celebrate Christmas for the coming of Santa Claus. This may be in part due to the secular advetisements and commercials which highlight Santa and his reindeer, and all the tons of presents one could aspire to receive and many other secular ‘holiday’ ideas in which the Christ in Christmas seems to be pushed aside farther and farther.

But Jesus Christ’s birth is the true reason believers celebrate Christmas.

Four weeks before Christmas, parishioners in the Catholic Church celebrate Advent. Advent is a period of joyful preparation and waiting, and extends over the four Sundays before Christmas. The word ‘Advent’ comes from the Latin advenio, meaning “to come to” and refers to the coming of Christ. Advent is a joyful preparation of Christ’s birth at Christmas, but also a waiting, for the Christ in His Second Coming.  This year, Advent begins on the First Sunday of Advent,  December 3rd, followed by the Second Sunday on December 10th, Third Sunday on December 17th, and the Fourth Sunday on December 24th.

Rather than focusing on the secular display of Christmas, gift-giving or receiving, Christians celebrating during the 4 weeks of Advent open their hearts and minds to dwell on God. Advent is a time to slow down, to wait, and to notice. Isaiah tells us, ‘no ear can hear, no eye can see the wondrous deeds God has ready for us’ unless those ears and eyes are open to notice God’s presence in their lives.

Advent prepares us for the coming of God much as preparation for the coming of the Infant Jesus at Christmas. During Advent, believers try to take even ten minutes out of the day in silence to watch for signs of God’s presence in one’s life and share that presence with others.

The second week of Advent, we focus on transformation; God is calling us to renew our watch for Jesus’ Second Coming. We give thanks for His constant care and the changing events in our life. This second week, we embrace change by the baby born in Bethlehem who proclaims changes for mankind through his later ministry.

The third week of Advent calls us to be messengers of joy to each other, especially to the least among us. This is done through gatherings in faith sharing. This takes the focus off us, and turns to our brothers and sisters in need.

The fourth week of Advent we focus on the promises of God and pray for grace, trust and courage to respond more fully to God. This is done through Scripture sharing and reflection. We reflect on the Holy Family: Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus, and how we can imitate them in our daily family life. [Ref: Quest Reflection Booklet]

Advent Calendars are primarily for the children. Kids love to count down the days until Christmas and this is precisely what the Advent calendar is. It is box like calendar that has a backing. The front has little perforated windows numbered 1 to 25. They are usually designated with religious images; and each window is opened each day starting with #1 on December first. Some calendars have chocolate surprises in them and others have religious pictures or sayings or small toy. December 24th usually has a picture of the creche and a surprise for the 25th.

Prepare your heart for Jesus, this coming Advent;  He is the reason for the season.

© Marie Coppola Revised 2017; some rights reserved.