Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Mary Mother of God


The LORD said to Moses:
“Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!

+ * + * +

Brothers and sisters:
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,
born of a woman, born under the law,
to ransom those under the law,
so that we might receive adoption as sons.
As proof that you are sons,
God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
crying out, “Abba, Father!”
So you are no longer a slave but a son,
and if a son then also an heir, through God.

+ * + * +

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told to them.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.

+ * + * +

Today is the octave day of Christmas, that is the eighth day since the feast of the Nativity of Jesus. It is the oldest feast honoring Mary. The gospel passage for this feast is same as the Christmas Mass at Dawn, which tells of the visit of the shepherds to Mary's new born son, Jesus.

For this feast, the verses telling of Jesus being brought to the temple on the eighth day to be circumcised and given the name Jesus is added. Until recently, this day was called the feast of the Circumcision of Jesus. Today the focus for this feast is on Mary as Mother of God, and has the  importance of solemnity. 

In the first centuries, the Church struggled with the question of the true nature of Jesus. Was he merely a man, albeit, the greatest of all the prophets that God had raised up. Or was he much more, indeed, did he share in the very divinity of God? 

The First Council of Nicaea in 325, declared that the Son was true God, co-eternal with the Father and begotten from His same substance, arguing that such a doctrine best codified the Scriptural presentation of the Son as well as traditional Christian belief about him handed down from the Apostles. This belief was expressed by the bishops in the Creed of Nicaea, which would form the basis of what has since been known as the Nicene Creed.

The Church quickly realized that since Jesus is both man and God, and since Mary in her womb and gave birth to Jesus, it is right to call her, Mother of God - Theotokos - the womb that held within it the one who is both human and divine.

This is a great mystery of faith. In the 2nd Reading, Paul sees in this mystery God's wonderful plan for our humanity. 

  • Jesus came from the divine to enter into our lowly humanity.
  • He leads us back through our communion in his humanity to share in his divinity.
  • So in baptism, we mere humans are born again and now we share in the divinity of Jesus.
  • By our rebirth in Jesus, it is right to speak of Mary, mother of Jesus, as our mother as well.
As we begin a new calendar year - which reminds us that we are moving ever closer to our ultimate destiny, let us keep these things foremost in our thoughts:

  • Jesus the son of God is our brother, dear to us as we are to him.
  • That Mary is our heavenly mother, caring for us with the love and protection of a devoted and loving Mother.
  • Think of ourselves, not as some weak and failing piece of humanity, headed for the grave, but as a royal child of God the FATHER, beloved as Jesus is loved, protected in the arms of Mary our mother, destined to live in this family for all eternity.

 + * + * +


Celebrated on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, 1 January, the World Day of Peace was introduced in 1967 by Pope Paul VI.

The message's theme is “No Longer Slaves, but Brothers and Sisters". Pope Francis highlights the issue of human trafficking and modern slavery.

This year's theme is drawn from Saint Paul’s letter to Philemon, in which the Apostle asks his co-worker to welcome Onesimus, formerly Philemon’s slave, now a Christian and, therefore, according to Paul, worthy of being considered a brother.  The Apostle of the Gentiles writes: “Perhaps this is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back for ever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother” (vv. 15-16).

In his message he says "We know that God will ask each of us: What did you do for your brother? (cf. Gen 4:9-10).  The globalization of indifference, which today burdens the lives of so many of our brothers and sisters, requires all of us to forge a new worldwide solidarity and fraternity capable of giving them new hope and helping them to advance with courage amid the problems of our time and the new horizons which they disclose and which God places in our hands".

(from Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.)

Here is a link to Pope Francis message for this 2015 Day of Prayer for Peace - LINK

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Feast of the Holy Family

 A Reading from the Holy Gospel According to Luke 2:22-40

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
They took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
He took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
—and you yourself a sword will pierce—

so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

  • Here is a link to a broadcast from Vatican Radio containing reflections and background information regarding the Feast of the Holy Family - LINK
  • More from Vatican Radio on this feast. It contains text as well as an audio player to listen to this reflection. LINK

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Voices of the Christmas Liturgies - III

Mass During the Day

Entrance Antiphon

A child is born for us, and a son is given to us;
his scepter of power rests upon his shoulder,
and his name will be called Messenger of great counsel.

  • As we come into his holy place to celebrate this the third Mass of Christmas, we are greeted with this proclamation: "... his name will be called Messenger of great counsel."
  • We must ready ourselves, as Mass begins, to still our frantic minds so that we will be able to listen and hear, for a message from God is to be told to us, and each person is meant to hear God speaking a word to them. What will it be? What will I carry home in my heart today?


O God, who wonderfully created the dignity of human nature
and still more wonderfully restored it,
grant, we pray,
that we may share in the divinity of Christ,
who humbled himself to share in our humanity.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

  • One marvels at how much scientific information our generation has learned about our natural world and our place in its intricate systems. Yet, as for the question of how all this came to be, there remains much debate. 
  • The opening prayer of this Mass speaks with certainty; this world and our humanity have been created by God. Reason itself can bring us to the doorstep of this knowledge, but this prayer takes us beyond and reveals what no one could ever have imaged.
  • We are to share in that divinity that has created our lowly humanity.

Prayer over the Offerings

Make acceptable, O Lord, our oblation on this solemn day,
when you manifested the reconciliation
that makes us wholly pleasing in your sight
and inaugurated for us the fullness of divine worship.
Through Christ our Lord.

  • In the land that experienced the first Christmas, there was a great temple where people came to place on the altar oblations, gift offering from their possessions, to be sacrificed in the hope that somehow these oblations would make things right between them and God. 
  • It is not our things that God wants, rather it is our hearts. It is our hearts that replace that temple of old, where now God is pleased to enter.
  • We are to bring some bread and wine and God will make of them a banquet to celebrate the true reconciliation only God can give.
  • Come now, lets gather around his table. Let his peace fill your soul.

Preface III

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.
For through him the holy exchange that restores our life
has shone forth today in splendor:
when our frailty is assumed by your Word
not only does human mortality receive unending honor
but by this wondrous union we, too, are made eternal.
And so, in company with the choirs of Angels,
we praise you, and with joy we proclaim:

  • The vigor of our youth quickly passes and the frailty of our human condition remains inescapable. Fear not! The Word has taken on our human frailty, "... and by this wondrous union we, too, are made eternal"
  • As this truth grows stronger in our minds and hearts, fear is replaced by a certainty about my future that brings a peace the world cannot give.

Prayer after Communion

Grant, O merciful God,
that, just as the Savior of the world, born this day,
is the author of divine generation for us,
so he may be the giver even of immortality.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

  • Now, as this celebrations ends, I leave here to enter this world shroud in shadows of uncertainty. But I am not alone. A gift has been given me, a Friend, Jesus to walk with me on my journey. His radiance will light my way, his presence will empower me meet the challenges that await me in the shadows, his love will raise me up when I fall. 
Leave now with these words of this Solemn Blessing echoing in your heart. Perhaps you might say them again as part of your grace, as you gather for your Christmas meal with family and friends.

Solemn Blessing

May the God of infinite goodness,
who by the Incarnation of his Son has driven darkness from the world
and by that glorious Birth has illumined this most holy night (day),
drive far from you the darkness of vice
and illumine your hearts with the light of virtue.
R. Amen.

May God, who willed that the great joy
of his Son’s saving Birth
be announced to shepherds by the Angel,
fill your minds with the gladness he gives
and make you heralds of his Gospel.
R. Amen.

And may God, who by the Incarnation
brought together the earthly and heavenly realm,
fill you with the gift of his peace and favor
and make you sharers with the Church in heaven.
R. Amen.

And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever.
R. Amen.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Voices of the Christmas Liturgies - II

At the Mass at Dawn

Entrance Antiphon

Today a light will shine upon us, for the Lord is born for us; 
and he will be called Wondrous God,;
Prince of peace, Father of future ages:
and his reign will be without end.
  • Dawn, with its morning light is breaking over our long Winter night. But as we make our way to this mass, it is a heavenly light lighting our way. The voices of the shepherds of long ago echo in our hearts; 
When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 

  • Seeing is believing on Christmas Day. As you approach this sacred liturgy, ask that your heart will be filled with that excitement which filled the hearts of the Christmas shepherds.
Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that, as we are bathed in the new radiance of your incarnate Word,
the light of faith, which illumines our minds,
may also shine through in our deeds.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

  • That the light of faith, which illumines our minds, may also shine through in our deeds. When we leave this Mass today, this world will be the same. What will have been changed is out minds, the way we see the world and our place in it. This prayer will now define me:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

Prayer over the Offerings
May our offerings be worthy, we pray, O Lord,
of the mysteries of the Nativity this day,
that, just as Christ was born a man and also shone forth as God,
so these earthly gifts may confer on us what is divine.
Through Christ our Lord.

  • The exchange of gifts is a customary practice for Christmas. It is never truer than here at mass. We bring gifts of bread and wine from our tables at home and we leave this communion table with "what is divine" in our hands.

Preface II
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.
For on the feast of this awe-filled mystery,
though invisible in his own divine nature,
he has appeared visibly in ours;
and begotten before all ages,
he has begun to exist in time;
so that, raising up in himself all that was cast down,
he might restore unity to all creation
and call straying humanity back to the heavenly Kingdom.

  • These words capture for us the true meaning Christmas story. As you see and read the more classic Christmas stories, recall how they all have these words as their inspiration. 

Prayer After Communion
Grant us, Lord, as we honor with joyful devotion
the Nativity of your Son,
that we may come to know with fullness of faith
the hidden depths of this mystery
and to love them ever more and more.
Through Christ our Lord.

  • As the mass ends, from the gospel reading, we have two models to take with us and imitate
  • Mary - "Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart." Christmas may be over tonight in societies practice but for us we keep alive all that we have experienced this day, "reflecting" and learning more and more "the hidden depths of this mystery."
  • The Shepherds -  "Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them." As a suggestion, consider reading the Nativity gospel as a prelude to grace at your Christmas dinner.

Voices of the Christmas Liturgies - I

At the Mass during the Night

Entrance Antiphon Ps 2: 7

Let us all rejoice in the Lord, for our Savior has been born in the world. Today true peace has come down to us from heaven.
  • "Let us all rejoice in the Lord" ... it reminds us that this gift of salvation from the Father is meant for all people. As I hear this proclamation, I hear it in a personal way as well - and all the more should my heart be burdened.
  • "True Peace" ... so much effort and expense goes into making ourselves and other happy at Christmas. Happiness is a fruit of peace, that is right order. True peace is a fruit of lives in right order with God. What ever condition has prevailed, today is offered to us a new beginning.

O God, who have made this most sacred night
radiant with the splendor of the true light,
grant, we pray, that we, who have known the mysteries of his
light on earth, may also delight in his gladness in heaven.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
  • "Splendor of true light" ... Even though our eyes have the capacity to see, without light we see nothing. So too, our minds and hearts have been given the capacity to see the hidden things of God, but without revealing grace casing true light upon us, we remain in the dark about the truth of God and our place within God's divine plan.
  • Lord, open my eyes that I may see you taking me up in your embrace of love, as Mary takes the child Jesus into her loving arms this night.
Prayer over the Gifts

May the oblation of this day’s feast
be pleasing to you, O Lord, we pray,
that through this most holy exchange
we may be found in the likeness of Christ,
in whom our nature is united to you.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
  • The simple and common elements of bread and wine make up our offering to place on the Christmas altar - all we have with which to prepare a banquet fit for a king. They are symbolic of our own lives, struggling to acquire and hold on to our daily bread, to make it through another day, fending off despair.
  • But this is the banquet the Father has prepared for his Prodical sons and daughters. He has sent his Son to guide us home, to a glorious celebration, to clothe our shabbiness in robes of holiness, with gold rings on our fingers to tell everyone we are his true sons and daughters, healed and forgiven. O, is this not our cause for celebration of Christmas?

Preface I - Christ the Light
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.
For in the mystery of the Word made flesh
a new light of your glory has shone upon the eyes of our mind,
so that, as we recognize in him God made visible,
we may be caught up through him in love of things invisible.
And so, with Angels and Archangels,
with Thrones and Dominions,
and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven,
we sing the hymn of your glory,
as without end we acclaim:
  • Truly "... a new light of your glory has shone upon the eyes of our mind". But there is much healing that must take place for these eyes to see. Do not hesitate, do not give up longing to see. Come to this liturgy, with this as your prayer, repeated over and over, "... may I be caught up through him in love of things invisible."
Prayer After Communion
Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God,
that we, who are gladdened by participation
in the feast of our Redeemer’s Nativity,
may through an honorable way of life become worthy of union
with him.
  • Now we rise from this banquet table of Christmas celebration, clothed in new robes, carrying in our arms many gifts, that we were made able to see, gathered up by each one, with their very name inscribe upon them - gather as the light of His grace shone around us.
  • Now we go into our world, laden with gifts to bring to a world shrouded in darkness, to fill this night with the true Spirit of Christmas.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Finding Christmas December 21 & 22

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.

* + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + *

This brings us to the end of our Advent meditation on the gospel reading for the mass of Christmas Day, the third of the Christmas liturgies. On Christmas morning the Book of Gospels will be opened and these words, taken from the prologue of John's gospel, will be proclaimed. Now having explored these texts, meditating and praying with them, seeking that new light will shine upon our minds, our hearts are ready hear this divine revelation. We now turn to the final verse of this gospel passage.

And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.

The conclusion of these days of prayer may be summed up in a word, Emanuel, God is with us, in His Son, Jesus. Recall this exchange in John's gospel:
Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father,* and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.

Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Jo. 14:8-11

What a gift we have in Jesus. For all eternity, God dwells in unapproachable light, where no one can see or approach. Yet now we can see our God and have personal relationship with him.

Perhaps this intimate closeness of our God is no more wondrously experienced than when we approach the altar at communion time and literally hold in our hands the very God who created us. The voices of the Advent and Christmas liturgies reveal to us this mystery with many beautiful expressions of prayer. In our next post we will focus our meditation on the Voices of the Christmas Liturgies. 

Behold your God

Friday, 19 December 2014

Finding Christmas December 19 & 20

From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Jo. 1:16-17

The text for today speaks of grace, a grace that is given to replace a grace already give. What is John teaching us in this text? He is speaking about the Old and New Testaments. There is a movement, a dynamic unfolding and changing in God's plan of salvation. John sees all this as "Grace", God's doing. God initiates a dialogue with man starting with Moses and the First Testament begins; (testament = a statement of will, of intention, here is my plan, how it will be, here is your part in it).

Within the First Testament a time for its fulfillment was set. Now complete, a New Testament, a new plan is revealed, replacing the old, the final plan, until everything if fulfilled. The dialogue continues but now the speaker is God's Son and the conversation will be person-to-person with each believer.

The first book of the Old Testament, opens with the phrase: "In the beginning ..." John begins his account of the New Testament with the same phrase, "In the beginning ...". Grace in place of Grace.

It is important that we understand that the conversation in the New Testament is person-to-person, not only with all, but with each one individually, who will turn a ear and listen. He who has come into the world has come for me.

Christmas is about gift, the Grace of conversation, my Lord who comes to speak to me, filling my mind and heart with Grace and Truth.

Come Lord and speak, your servant is listening!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Finding Christmas December 17 & 18

John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me  because he existed before me. Jo. 1:15

Often our praying is like having a wall of prayer, where we attach our petitions in the hopes they will be answered. What is beyond our wall of prayer remains hidden and the fate of our prayers unknown.

But there is another kind of prayer, where we go past the wall, as through a door, into the Light, carrying with us our prayers, to be presented in person. The prayer I am referring to is the prayer of contemplation.

But how? How does one pray in this way? Where is this door and how does one go about finding it? [ ... knock and the door will be open to you ... mt 7:7 ] It starts with desire, wanting to find this door that leads to a deeper experience of prayer. For those content with sticking a note to the wall and departing to go about their business, the door remains unknown. It's the one with a hunger in their heart, who stands and knocks, waiting with patience, who will have the door into contemplation opened to them.

Beyond this door, prayer becomes encounter, experience, on all levels of one's being. It is no longer talking to, it's talking with; I with my list of concerns, He casting light upon my mind and into my heart, so that I might see and understand how my prayer is to come to pass.

The prophetic voices of Advent that we are hearing, come from those who have prayed in this way. They entered and saw and in turn announced what they learned, so that others might be inspired to seek God in this same way. This is how John the Baptist was able to see and so to reveal the mystery of Jesus eternal existence.

The beautiful mystery of Christmas, so easily obscured by the hype that surrounds us, is that we are all given an invitation to come and see, to enter through the door, to discover God's plan for us. And from Christmas day, we have a human person, His son Jesus, who becomes our companion and friend, guiding us each day in and out through the door of prayer.

Seeing is believing. Contemplative prayer is the prayer of seeing.

For more information on the prayer of contemplation go to the pages on this site, 
St. Ignatius Way of Prayer and Praying On a Passage of Scripture

Wailing Wall of the old Temple

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Finding Christmas December 15 & 16

And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.

It is often said that it is only children who truly find the true meaning of Christmas, that Christmas is for children. Perhaps it is the children's unquenchable sense of expectancy, their belief in gifts and a giver of gifts that makes this so. They are looking at the same world adults do, but they see things that adults don't. Does this not bring to mind these words of Jesus;

And Jesus said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Mtt. 18:3

  • "Sense of expectancy" - good things are coming, hope is greater than doubt, faith is deepening, optimism outweighs the negative, my future is secure - in what ways is this true in your life or not?
  • "Belief in gifts" - in times of setback and in troubled times, something greater than what is lost will be given. I will not loose. It is in knowing my own poverty is offset by confidence, that what I need will be there when it comes to pass. This is how and why I go forward?
  • "A Giver of gifts" - I live in His embrace, my fears subside as I experience a peace that raises me above this world's trials - that defies this world's reasoning - how true is this in you? 


Gracious Lord,
many shadows now cover the eyes of my heart.
Dark things that I have seen impede my vision. 

Once when I first experienced
a new and vibrant faith,
you gave me the eyes of a child with which to see,
and I beheld a world bathed in the light of your glory,
full of beauty and goodness and truth.

But now those beautiful eyes of faith you placed in me,
are wounded and marred by  
so much wrong that I have seen
slashing, scratching as I try to find my way
through the entanglement of my life.

Yet the voices of the Advent prophets have stirred within me.
I remember your words about becoming a child
and seeing the world as they do,
how this is the way into your kingdom.

Like the blind beggar in the gospel
I cry out, "Lord, that I might see."
Give me again that faith I once knew,
that I might see your glory once again
with the eyes of a child.



Saturday, 13 December 2014

Finding Christmas December 14 & 15

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God. Jo 1:12-13


It is our intention for these Advent meditations to delve more deeply into the true mystery of Christmas. Our principal resource is the text of the prologue of St. John's gospel which is the gospel reading for the Mass of Christmas Day. Taking a verse at a time, we continue our search.

  • Three things that DO NOT bring us into the mystery of Christ
  1. Being born into and raised in a Christian family (the chosen race concept of O.T.) - born not by natural generation
  2. Belonging to a church congregation - nor by human choice
  3. The result of one's own investigation into religion - nor a man’s decision

  •  A real encounter with the true Christ "... who has come into the world", is a gift of grace, a work of the Holy Spirit.
  • Our part is found in desire, a hunger seated deep within our souls, to want Him
  • Decorations, Christmas music, and all the merry making cannot do it.
  • Finding Christmas comes about through an authentic desire, a hunger, rooted in the poverty of one's heart and expressed through prayer. 
  • Christmas is found only after an authentic Advent.
  • Do you have a feeling of need in your heart, an absence of the so called, "Christmas spirit"?  That is the spirit of Advent working in you, preparing the stable of your heart where something new and wonderful is to be born.


Gracious Lord of Glory
I stand before you with empty pockets.
Like the Prodigal Son, I have squandered 
the inheritance of grace you bestowed upon me
in many empty pursuits.

In the midst of the glitz and glamour of Christmas,
I walk about alone and detached,
like a street person in the shadows,
my heart is cold and hungry.

But I have heard the voices of Advent
they inspire me with new hope.
O come Emmanuel!
Once again pay my ransom and free me.

The stable of my heart is once more empty,
waiting for your coming anew.
O come! O come Emmanuel,
and ransom me as you did captive Israel. 

An Advent Hymn - LINK

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