Tag Archives: gifts

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

 

One Last Christmas

Ron Quinlan, a writer and member of our church, wrote this poignant article on what is important at Christmas time.  

 

WHAT IF THIS WAS YOUR LAST CHRISTMAS?  

Last December I heard a song once that I couldn’t forget, One Last Christmas by Matthew West. The title really makes one think. What if you knew you only had one last Christmas? What would you do?

What if this Christmas was your last Christmas to come back to the Church?

What if this was your last opportunity to tell people you loved them?

What if it was your last Christmas to spend with your Mom or Dad, the last one with your siblings, spouse or children?

What if this Christmas was your last opportunity to go to Mass with your parents?

What if this Christmas was your last opportunity to tell people how much God loves them?

What if this Christmas was your last opportunity for reconciliation with one of your children, parents or siblings?

How would this Christmas be different? What would be your priorities? Who would you see or call? What would you do? What would you say?

So often at holidays we waste time fretting about unimportant things, high prices, long lines, a perfect house, the perfect meal, decorations, the electric bill, traffic.

We spend so much time preparing for Christmas Day that we’re exhausted. Rather than being the best we can be, the loving people we want to be, we are negative. We complain and sometimes criticize. That dress is horrible, what did you do to your hair, you really don’t need a second helping, you’re already too fat. Why did you buy that? The color is all wrong.

Often at Christmas our concern is directed to what we did or didn’t receive. We pay more attention to the gifts than we do to the giver and the love behind the gift.

We spend our day playing with the latest gizmo or watching sports.

Do we really want someone’s last memory of us to be our complaining, negativity or criticism?

Do we want to let this Christmas pass without trying one last time to model Christ’s love, to share God’s love with our family and friends?

Wouldn’t we prefer to leave behind memories of the way we loved others rather than our own anger, negativity or self-centeredness?

How can we be sure this isn’t our last Christmas or the last Christmas with our parents and loved ones? We can’t be sure who will be here next year. I was fortunate to be with my Mom at her last Christmas but I didn’t have a clue at the time.

We need to live this Christmas as if it is our last. We can’t count on next Christmas to return to the Church or to tell our loved ones how much we love them. We can’t put off to next year to tell our children and grandchildren how much God loves them, how much Jesus yearns for them to come back to Him. Now is the time God has given us. This Christmas is the time we have to do the things that are most important.

WHAT IF IT WAS YOUR……………………..?

 

 

 

 

 

The Wonderful Italian Wedding


 L’amore e per sempre – Love is Forever  

And parents of the happy couple hope it is forever – it can be a costly, extravagant affair and is expected to last forever. Happily, there are fewer Italian divorces.

Usually preceded by an engagement party, the bridal shower, and the rehearsal dinner, the wedding can be affair of 100 to 300 guests. Italian families are large and may be why the bridal parties are, too. it is not unusual to have 8 to 12 attendants, plus 2 flower girls and a ring bearer.

After the stretch limo, Mercedes or horse-driven carriages to the place of reception, the guests are greeted for cocktails in a Monaco-hall type setting resendent with enormous crystal chandeleirs, marble columns and floor to ceiling mirrors. Finger Hors deoveres are served along with cocktails.

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The formal dinner is served shortly thereafter, a 5 or 6 course meal, starting with a room filled with appetizers. The appetizers range from fresh fruit, shrimp, assorted tuna, shrimp, crabmeat, egg and varied salads, along with the familiar italian delicacies; ricotta stuffed eggplant, meatballs and sausages, pasta dishes, and varied fish dishes, mussels, crab legs, lobster tails, scallops, calamari and many more. There is a bar set up with different mixed drinks, champagne, wines,and liquers.

When dinner is announced, the guests move to the formal dinner room. Dinner usually begins with soup, a minestrone or wedding soup, followed by a salad. The next course is always a pasta course. The main course comes next, your entree choice usually of chicken, salmon, or prime rib.

The band or DJ is already playing when you come into the hall, and continue playing while dinner is eaten. Danciing is popular and everyone dances.

After socializing, dancing and the traditional first dances, cake cutting and garter removal and boquet throwing, the hour is near midnight when the dessert room double doors, also know as the Venetian Room or Viennese Table are opened. The same large room that carried all the appetizers are gone and in their place are tables and stations of every fresh fruit – fruit is a favorite Italian dessert along with fancy cakes, tortes, sherbets, cannoli, cream puffs, puddings, ice cream bars, Italian cookies, tira misui, cream and fruit pies, including the sliced wedding cake. There are coffee urns and an expresso bar both caffineated and decafeffatee. Lattes, capaccinos and Irish coffees are served here also.

When the guests return to their tables, there are highly anticipated mounds of fancy home-made Italian cookies, decorated with tulle and fancy papers – they are the most popular and quickly consumed or carried home for the next day.

One Italian tradition is for the newlyweds to give a wrapped favor gift to the guests as they present the couple with their money gift. Almost 100% of wedding gifts are money gifts. When the guests presents the envelope which is placed in a money bag on the bride’s wrist and usually matches the wedding dress, they get a gift in return. These are lovely gifts, sometimes figurines from Italy, many in crystal. Sometimes it could be a bowl or vase, wine glasses or even an expresso serving gift of 6.

One wedding we attended was a Cinderella-inspired wedding. The gift to the guests was a Svardoniski crystal coach in sterling silver. Before the couple left the reception, two white doves were carried in and all the guests were invited to the outside veranda to let the doves go – if they left together, it was a good sign for the couple. They did.

Some weddings have cigar bars with someone from the islands rolling fresh cigars. Others have sushi bars in addition to all the above menus. Many have artists roaming around drawing caricatures for the guests.

Some of these weddings may cost what a grand down payment on a house would be or a high-priced new car. In addition, the parents may also present a honeymoon trip as a gift.

Italian weddings reflect not only the generosity of the families towards the newest ‘family’, but also the closeness of all the relatives who partake. For all the grandiosity and splendor they project, the family love in toasts, remembrances, hugs affection and multiple toasts of good wishes are extremely high. Auguri!!

Marie Coppola October 2012