It’s the last day of November 2012 and it is the Feast of St. Andrew. Being that this is Friday I have been given some leeway to make the transition from Ordinary time to Advent. For my non-religious, non-Catholic friends, our liturgical season of Ordinary Time is green but Advent becomes deep blue & purple. For Christmas, we transition to white and then for a short while back to green and then purple in Lent. Did I confuse you? Sorry!
This morning as I presided at mass, one of my prayers was to ask people to use this time in Advent to prepare their hearts and minds for our Savior, Jesus Christ. I always want to elevate people’s attention to the fact that this season can bring about bad behavior. Most of it comes from the clutter of the secular world which pulls us away from the very heart of what we celebrate. The joy of Christmas is a circle of love, peace and joy that fills us with each yearly Christmas celebration, and sadly, it can be a terrible time for some who do not know the Lord and who suffer quietly.
I believe we need to mix our holiday cheer by extending ourselves to the lost, lonely and marginalized. We have an Angel tree in the foyer of our church. I get a little frustrated when I see people carefully looking for a little girl or a little baby on their Angel. If I happen to walk by and see this I will pull a tag off the tree and hand it to the person and tell them God told me to give this to them. Yes, it brings about a startled look but the point is that God has no favorites and that sometimes we need to walk blindly into something that will bring about the most good.
I believe we should have Christmas parties, bake cookies, sing Carols and do modest shopping. It is in these simple acts that we may gladden our hearts and let the Light of Christ enter into our hearts. So, Merry Christmas to all of you. There is so much activity going on in our parish community. It is exciting!
This Thanksgiving I will be hosting a dinner for a few friends. I always get a little weepy before I jump into the holidays. Weepy because of the memories I have of those whom I have loved and have gone home to God. But I always snap out of it and try to cheer myself by putting on the holiday music, decorating the house, make cookies and send out the Christmas cards!
This holiday I am thinking of my dad and how he will eat dinner at the nursing home instead of being with his family. It is distressing because he is somewhat difficult to manage and I cannot lift him very easily. If he was able to walk I would haul him here every weekend. This past week another one of my dad’s longtime friends passed away. The weird thing is this: just about all of my dad’s friends are gone now and my dad has been sick the longest! He has outlived just about all his friends. When I look at my dad I think he looks better than all of us. But it still saddens me when I look at this man who was my tower of strength, my protector and provider diminished to being stuck in a wheelchair. I suppose at the age of 88 years old he is doing very well. But I know this can change in a heart beat, in the smallest amount of time.
I hope I can live long enough to enjoy some retirement years and travel extensively. I would love to be the Chaplain of a Cruise ship and just sail the seas. We’ll just have to see what God has in store for me.
You may find this odd but I really am not that great of a fan of turkey. I wonder if Lobster had ever been discovered yet when the pilgrims roamed the earth, AND, if that would have changed our Thanksgiving fare! Butter and lemon dribbling down my chin as I sumptuously gobble up that delicious “chicken” of the sea!
But alas, we dine on the flesh of the dumbest bird on the earth. Let me move on to my favorite food for T-day! Pumpkin pie! Yes! I also make an awesome stuffing and a sweet potato casserole. This year I will be joined by the Dietrichs for the second year in a row. There may be others at the table as soon as it becomes clear as to who needs a place to celebrate.
This Thanksgiving will be one of great reflection for me. There are some things I need to work out and work on. Both in the parish and on a more personal level. I will be on retreat for two weeks in January and hopefully I can relax and decompress as the stress of working a large parish can take it’s toll. I worry more about my mental health. Not that I am going crazy, it is just that I need to refocus. Because of my humanity, the perfection factor does not exist, so, with that, I need to step back and take a good look at myself and ask God to help me be a better person and a better priest.
I am thankful for so many people whose lives I connect with every day. I am even grateful to my critics because I cannot internalize it as criticism but more as acts of love.
I am constantly being formed. Nothing is the same as yesterday. Please pray for me as I pray for you!
It’s a grey Sunday morning but things are looking up. For one thing I will be glad that the election will be over soon. I have never felt such an ugly divide in our country because of the persons we put in office to represent us. I mean it is “hate”! And I must admit I have been caught up in it also. I had to stop posting on my Facebook account because I was trudging through all the vitriol that was not even done in jest. I have unfriended and and been unfriended. Not that I equate who my REAL friends are by the number of friends I have on Facebook but this is ridiculous.
I will have to mend a few fences here and there but that’s okay. When I’m wrong, I’ll admit. But whenever I do that it means it is time to move on and make sure the lesson is learned. I cannot hold on to such silliness. it’s sort of like a whole new ball game with social media. Just like the writing of this blog is supposed to be therapeutic for me. But every now and then I’ll get someone who blasts me. If I know the person and they know me, thats different. But when people I don’t know accuse or threaten me then it changes things. This blog is NOT me. Get to know me and find out all the things we have in common.
Anyway…..I will vote and I hope you do too!