Merry Christmas! What Does Today Mean?

Christmas has arrived!  That magical time of the year when all seems to be at peace; when nature seems still, wars have paused, enemies have celebrated together, kids believe in magic and the hope of treasure.  A time when most of us recall how we spent the season as a child, longing once again for that simplicity of life.  Amidst all the secular commercialization, this time of the year still seems to hold a special place in our heart and mind.

In a little town in Italy, named Greccio, in the year 1223, St. Francis of Assisi, led an evening prayer service for the townspeople. To make the event meaningful he decided to recreate, live, the nativity scene of the birth of Jesus. Prior to this event, the displaying of nativity scenes was unheard of.  But for St. Francis, the importance of the nativity event was in his belief that it was a real event.  Historically, in the town of Bethlehem, a child, later to be named Jesus by his parents, was born.  Francis, believing that this child was the son of God born into our world, wanted the people of Greccio to fully understand that our God is approachable…

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Mary’s Example Of Faith And Trust - Christmas Eve

As a child, I recall Christmas Eve as one of the longest days ever! As an adult, I find this day filled with anticipation and excitement, for spiritually I know that tomorrow we commemorate the birth of Jesus my Lord. But today the birth is not my focus, rather, my focus turns to His mother, Mary. She was an unwed teenager from a small town in a desert who was asked the impossible; to trust so deeply in God when asked to bear God's son. I have no doubt that Mary's "yes" came with some hesitation and trepidation. And I'm sure she did not always have a pleasant time of it when dealing with her future husband, her family, and just the fact of being pregnant in general. Yet, through it all, Mary never gave up.

Jesus was born to this poor teenage girl in a stable in a small town in the far reaches of the Roman empire.  He was born to a girl who took a leap of faith and trusted in her God. She persevered, not knowing the outcome.  Onward she traveled, despite hardship and fear.

For me, Christmas is not only a time of celebration and…

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our family nativity with St. Francis Assisi

Christmas has arrived!  That magical time of the year when all seems to be at peace.  That time of the year when nature seems still, wars paused, enemies celebrate together, kids believe in magic and the hope of treasure.  A time when most of us recall how we spent the season as a child, longing once again for that simplicity of life.  Amidst all the secular commercialization, this time of the year still seems to hold a special place for us.

This picture is of the manger scene our family has set up for over two decades, and since the 1980's I have added the statue of St. Francis of Assisi to my manger scene.  Why?

In a little town in Italy, named Greccio, in the year 1223, St. Francis led an evening prayer service for the towns' people, and to make the event meaningful he decided to recreate, live, the nativity, the birth of Jesus.  Prior to this event, the displaying of nativity scenes was unheard of.  But for Francis, the importance of the nativity event was that it was a real event.  Historically, in the town of Bethlehem, a child, later to be named Jesus by his…

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Reason for the Season

Christmas Eve, for me as a child, was one of the longest days ever! As an adult, I find this day to be one filled with anticipation and excitement, for spiritually I know that tomorrow we commemorate the birth of Jesus my Lord. But today the birth is not my focus, rather, my focus turns to His mother, Mary. Mary, an unwed teenager from a small town in a desert is asked the impossible; to trust so deeply in God when asked to bear God's son. I have no doubt that Mary's "yes" came with some hesitation and trepidation. And I'm sure she did not always have a pleasant time of it when dealing with her future husband, her family, and just the fact of being pregnant in general. Yet, through it all, Mary never gave up.

Jesus was born to this poor teenage girl in a stable in a small town in the far reaches of the Roman empire.  He was born to a girl who took a leap of faith and trusted in her God. She persevered, not knowing the outcome.  Onward she traveled, despite hardship and fear.

For me, Christmas is not only a…

Read more: Trust is the meaning of Christmas Eve

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"Don't spoil what you have by desiring what you don't have; but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for."Epicurus

 (Norman Rockwell "Traditional Thanksgiving")

Today, in the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday begun in 1789 by our first president, George Washington. In Washington's proclamation the president stated: "this is a day of national thanksgiving and prayer."  It is a day for us to gather in remembrance and gratitude for all the blessings bestowed upon each of us, and for us, in prayer, to unite with our Creator as the one who has bestowed these blessings we now celebrate.

Thanksgiving traditionally begins that time of the year when we celebrate family, joy, peace and traditions as we head down the road to Christmas Day and later to New Year's Eve/day. During this time I recall those special moments shared as a child; and now, as an adult, I again see that same joy, wonder and amazement through the eyes of the children in the family, and now, in their children's eyes!

Remembering our past and viewing the present through the eyes of children hopefully returns us to a time when, in our innocence, we…

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