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Soon the Christmas trees will be taken down, ornaments put away, and we will be getting back to our regular routines. Will Christmas and its wonderful spirit be forgotten just as easily as taking down the Christmas crèche? If Christmas and Jesus’ coming into the world is to have any lasting significance, we need to be different people, better people, in these days following Christmas.

A woman was seated by a fireplace, thinking about Christmas. The whole thing seemed absurd. Why would God take flesh and live among us? Then she heard a noise outdoors. She saw a dozen geese groping about in the snow—cold and confused. She went outside and tried to herd them into her warm garage. But the more she tried to help them, the more they scattered across the lawn. Finally, she gave us. Then an odd thought came to her. “If just for a minute I could become a goose and talk to them in their own language, I could explain that what I was trying to do was for their happiness.” Then it struck her. That’s what Christmas is all about! It’s about God becoming a human to teach us what is necessary for our happiness. Am I learning this lesson? How can I continue living in the spirit of Christmas giving, all year long?

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

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A Hasidic story tells of a little boy playing hide-and-seek with his friends. For some unknown reason, the others stopped playing while he was still hiding. He began to cry. His grandfather came to comfort him. After learning what had happened he said: “ Don’t cry. Maybe you can learn something from this. Life is sometimes like the same game with God…only it is God who is crying. God is waiting to be found, but many of us have gone in search of other things.”

In this time of Advent, we wait. We wait for many things, but most importantly we wait for a renewed awareness of God’s life active in our own. We wait for the simplicity of a child to be reborn in us. We wait to receive the gift of generosity shown by gentle shepherds and faith-filled wise men. We wait for the goodness and provident care of God to be revealed in our daily lives. God is also waiting…for us. God is waiting for us to get our priorities in order, to seek him with all our hearts, to love him as he loves us. What are we waiting for….?

As this Advent season comes to an end with the beginning of the Christmas season, we pray for all of our needs and intentions through Mary’s intercession. She teaches us what it means to wait patiently, to trust in God’s promises, and to seek God in our everyday life.

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

One rainy afternoon a mom was driving along one of the main streets in town, taking those extra precautions necessary when the roads are wet and slick. Suddenly her daughter, Ashley, spoke up from her relaxed position in the back seat.

“Mom, I’m thinking of something.” This announcement usually meant she had been pondering some fact for a while and was ready to expound all that her six-year-old mind had discovered. Her mom was eager to hear.

“What are you thinking?’ she asked.

“The rain,” she began, “is like sin, and the windshield wipers are like God wiping our sins away.”

After the chills raced up her arms, her mom was able to respond.

“That’s really good, Ashley.” Then her curiosity broke in. How far would this little girl take this revelation?

So I asked, “Do you notice how the rain keeps on coming? What does that tell you?”

Ashley didn’t hesitate for one moment with her answer: “We keep on sinning, and God just keeps on forgiving us.”

I don’t know about you, but I will always remember this whenever I turn my wipers on.

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

In this time of Advent, we are caught up in a spirit of waiting. We often forget that while we wait for the Birth of Jesus in our hearts and world, God is also waiting for us….to discover Him in creation, to find him anew in one another, to meet him in prayer. A story might help to demonstrate this:

Once there was a young man who wanted to find God, so he went into a beautiful cathedral. He thought that in this atmosphere he might experience God. Filled with feelings of God’s closeness, he put his head down on the back of the pew in front of him.

A few minutes later he felt a tapping on his shoulder. Looking up, he saw an old woman. “Are you hungry?” she asked. “I could give you a few dollars to get something to eat.” Realizing the risk the woman had taken and the simple love that prompted her offer, the man thanked her and said that he was all right. A few minutes later he left the church, knowing that he had found God in more than one way.

In this Advent season, let us follow the examples given in this little story:

· When we seek God we will find Him.

· When we reach out to others and offer to help another in need, we are acting as Jesus would.

· When we recognize the presence of God in each other, we realize how very blessed we are.

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech

 

 

 

 

“A young mother was ready for a few minutes of relaxation after a long and demanding day. Her young son, however, had other plans. ‘Read me a story, mom.’ The little boy requested. ‘Give mommy a few minutes and then I’ll be happy to read you a story,’ pleaded the mother. The boy, however, was insistent. The mother, with a stroke of genius, tore off the back page of the magazine she was trying to read. It contained a full page picture of the world. As she tore it into several pieces, she asked her son to put the picture together and then she would read him a story. Surely this would buy some time for mommy. A short time later, though, (too short a time for mom), the boy announced he had finished. To her amazement, the world picture was assembled correctly. When she asked her son how he did it so quickly, he explained that on the reverse side was a picture of a man. ‘When I got the man together, the whole world came together.’”

As this Advent season begins, we are invited to put our world together by concentrating on the coming of Jesus. When we have our priorities in order (“Jesus is the reason for the season”), our lives, our reality will make more sense! Let us work hard to keep a balance in our lives during

this month of preparation, letting Advent be a time of spiritual preparation while anticipating the joyfulness of preparing for the fun, family time, and festivities of the holiday season. God bless!

 

Written By: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

One day a religion teacher began a class on Jesus by saying to the young children: “Today I am going to tell you about someone whom you all must meet. He’s a person who loves you and cares for you, even more than your own family and friends. He’s a person who’s kinder than the kindest person you know. He’s a person who forgives you, no matter how often you do wrong. No matter what you do wrong, he is always ready to accept you, to love you and to understand.” The teacher noticed a little boy getting more and more excited as he talked. Suddenly the little boy could not hold back any longer. He blurted out, “I know the man you’re talking about. He lives on our street!”

To be a follower of Jesus is to be someone who shows others, in practice, some of what Jesus is like.

During this time of giving thanks, let us be grateful for those in our lives who have shown us what it means to be Jesus….

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

 

 

Jack McArdle tells the following story: “Mt. Ranier is a 14,000-foot mountain in Washington State. Some years ago nine physically handicapped people succeeded in climbing to the summit. One had an artificial leg, five were blind, two were deaf, and one was an epileptic. In spite of all this, they climbed the mountain and came down together, without mishap. When asked how they achieved such an extraordinary feat, one of the blind men said, ‘We got a lot of help from each other.’”

As we approach the holiday season, it is good for us to remember that we are called to be interdependent…needing each other as members of the Body of Christ. Together we can do much more than any single individual could ever accomplish alone. How can we better work and live together so that all may experience the success God wants for us? How can I help to alleviate the

pain of another? This week, we might call someone who is lonely, or recently bereaved, or sick, or under a lot of pressure. We might think about giving some time to allow a caregiver or a busy mom some time off. As members of the Body of Christ, we should be able to say, “We get a lot of help from each other.”

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND