Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Week 4 of Advent has Come & Gone...

... I apologize, for I have no meditations or food for thought on this.  It was a very challenging time for me, and I have no explenation as to why!  It didn't feel like Christmas, it didn't feel like was prepared for Christmas, and it still doesn't feel like Christmas has happened yet.... I'm not sure what changed, or when it changed, but I just haven't been hit with that "feeling" that usually comes this time of year. 

I read lots of different postings and prayers for the fourth week of Advent and nothing moved me.  Not.a.thing. 

Why share this?  Why not just fake some inspiration?  Because that wouldn't be fair to you!  I'd like to think that I have a strong, un-shakeable faith, but I don't.  Not that there's any doubt, it's just a lack of ... idunno what.  It happens to all of us. 

If you find yourself with a lack-of-idunno-what, just keep pluggin' along.  Whatever it is that feels like it's "missing" will find its way back eventually, I promise.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Prayer for Advent, Week 3

This is from an email subscription I have through

Christmas Joy, a devotional by Mel Lawrenz

My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. -Luke 2:46-47

One of the worst things that can happen to a person is to live with a shrunken understanding of God, a shrunken soul. This is the perfect reason to take Christmas seriously, as our best hope for our minds and hearts to be enlarged with God's greatness.

Mary's response to the message that she would bear the savior was a remarkable song of praise, sometimes known as the Magnificat (Luke 2:46-55). It begins, "My soul magnifies the Lord," which means that because God's announcement opened her heart him in a way that she couldn't have imagined, her soul was beginning to grasp the bigness of God.

I remember the first time I looked through a telescope at the open sky on a cold winter evening. When I pointed it at the half-lit moon, I was stunned as it came into focus-to see mountains and plains, unlike the picture books I was used to, but the real thing in real time. An ethereal, bright disk hanging in the sky was now a real place to me. The telescope magnified its reality. The moon didn't increase, but my comprehension of it did.

Sometimes human beings look at God as if he were a distant point of light. But when we take his word into consideration, and if we accept it by faith, our perspective changes drastically. We see that we are living in a greater reality, with a greater God than we had imagined, and with greater possibilities in our future.

Mary knew her life would never be the same-not just her life, but the lives of countless others-because of what God was going to do. This stretched her soul, and it can stretch ours.

Prayer for today:

Lord, this Christmas, give me a larger vision of who you are. May you be magnified in my soul, and may others see that you are the focus of my celebration.

A Prayer for Advent, Week 2 (observed)

Sorry for the delayed posting- the common cold has had me down for the count! 

While I was only able to work a few hours on a few days last week, I was praying for Graces to be bestowed upon me.... whether it was patience to get through the morning commute, or compassion while dealing with customers at work, or while the grace to forgive certain family members who have chosen a very dark path and have turned their backs on the family...

And who better to pray with than Our Mother, Mary!  The second week of Advent we celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and she is the mediatrix of graces for us.  I like to think of her as if she were by my side, with her arm around me while I pray:

Hail, Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee! 
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of  God, pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death,

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When is the Right Time for God?

As I sit here doped up on cold medicine, I'm watching a TV show I really enjoy called The Middle.  Forgive me if my thoughts don't quite track, I'm trying to keep this straight.... stick with me.  I tried to type while the actors were speaking, to get the closest, most accurate words.

The youngest son reads EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME.  He comes in during breakfast and says "Mom, how come you didn't tell me that church was based on a book?"  Her answer, as she was trying to get kids out the door, "Now's not the time for the Bible, it's too early."

That night, he comes up to his dad and starts asking questions.  He says "Dad, I've read it all, but I have a few questions- like 'How did Jonah survive in the belly of the whale, wouldn't the whale's digestive juices take care of him?' and 'How did Noah get two of every animal on one ship, the waste alone-' and his dad said, "Not now, Brick, it's too late." 

Brick's response, "Well, then when is the right time?  This morning it was too early, now it's too late...?!"  The comedic moment was when the dad said "Well, Sunday morning, from 9-10."

As the show went on, Brick's sister brought him to talk to Rev Tim-Tom, a roving reverend who plays the guitar with new-age worship music while ice skating, helping to bring God's love to everyone.  She insists that the reverend make her brother believe because she's afraid he won't be saved. 

Brick's first point of frustration was this, "the more I read, the more questions I have!" And he went on to raise a few good points..." If God is all powerful, why didn't he make everybody nice?"  "And the whole burning bush, Moses parting Red Sea- the believability- MEH!"  The reverend's response, "If you believe in God, miracles happen every day!"

When the sister asked Rev. Tim-Tom how it went, he said it was more like a time release thing- that Brick needs to come to it in his own time. 

Before traveling to the next town, Rev. Tim-Tom came to see Brick's sister- Completely distraught, she asked, "Why did you give up on Brick?!"  The reverend answered, "I didn't give up on him- he's a questioner- if people didn't ask questions, God would be out of a job... the world has always been full of questioners... Do you like Justin Bieber?  He can't make everyone like him... Jesus rolls like Justin- JC put the good word out there and let the people follow him. Lighten up, let him find his own path."

One of the closing scenes is the two kids looking out the window at snowflakes, and Brick's sister says,"Isn't it amazing that each snowflake is different?  It took me an hour to cut 10, God has to do - like - 50 million.  You can't tell me that isn't a miracle."  Brick answers, "Good point.  So, do you really believe all that stuff in the bible is true?"  His sister answers, " Absolutely!"  Scene ends with Brick saying, "Yeah.... I still don't know.... but it is a really good story.... I just wish it had roman numerals- nobody writes about roman numerals anymore."  (random, I know.... watch the show, it'll make more sense!)

So- to reiterate Brick's question, when is the right time for God?  Why can't it be in the morning, during breakfast, or on the way out the door. Why can't it be at night, after dinner, before bed?  How many times have discussions similar to this happened- maybe not so much with the 4th grader reading the Bible in one day, but the child asking the parents questions, and the parents putting off answering the hard questions? 

I really like how the writers of the show had the reverend answer Brick's questions.  I really like how he helped the sister understand that she couldn't force her brother into believing in God, that she needs to let her brother get to the point of believing on his own time.  I don't know that I would have made the connection with Justin Bieber and Jesus Christ, but it was a great way to explain it- JB (Bieber) puts his music out there, that's all he can do.  JC (Jesus) puts the good word out there, and waits for people to come to Him- He can't make us love Him, we have to come to that on our own.

Perhaps, today, the right time for God is prime time.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Prayer for Advent, Week 1

I have come to bring you peace.

I found this prayer (hyperlinked) on  The website has a weekly Advent prayer, and while I wasn't too inspired by their selection, I really liked this one.  Isn't that a wonderful idea?  When has someone said that to you?  Ever?  "Hey, how's it going?  I've come to bring you peace, just wanted you to know that you're loved, and that it's on a level so deep that you can't really even begin to fathom what it really means...."

My favorite- absolute favorite part of this prayer is the third phrase- maybe it's because I have the absolute hardest time with self-acceptance, self-love, self-worth... But I'm workin' on it!  I have good days and bad days, and those good days are starting to out number the bad- amen. 

As we enter into this Advent Season, prepare yourself to welcome and accept Love! 

I have come to bring you peace.

Not the peace of the season, for it is too fleeting,
Not the peace of the carol, for it is nostalgic,
Not the peace of the greeting card, for it is too slick,
Not the peace of the crib, for it is too wistful.

Rather, I have come to bring you peace,
Peace of the ordinary, the daily, the homely,
Peace for the worker, the driver, the student,
Peace in the office, the kitchen, the farm.

I have come to bring you peace,
The peace of accepting yourself as I fashioned you.
The peace of knowing yourself as I know you,
The peace of loving yourself as I love you,
The peace of being yourself as I am who I am.

I have come to bring you peace,
The peace that warms you at the completion of a task,
The peace that invades you at the close of the day,
The peace that sustains you at the beginning of the day,
The peace that reinforces you when you are reconciled with one another.
The peace that touches you when your family is in order.

Without peace, my coming is unfulfilled.
Without peace, my birth is forgettable.
Without peace, Christmas is a contradiction.
I have come to bring you peace.

© Liguori Publications
Excerpt from Advent - A Quality Storecupboard The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer