Thursday, December 04, 2014

Here are some ways to enjoy Christmas through the Whole Advent and Christmas Season--

St Ann’s Knights Meeting December 4, 2014

So Happy St Nicholas' Feast Day to you and yours, on the 6th-my boys are way old, but Traditions are what they are but modified with age--I now put the mounds of gelt for them not in their shoes, but on top of their key board and phone charges-Giggles, but what "kid" out grows gold covered chocolate coins-giggles.

Now, after Mass on the Great Feast Day on the 8th and after the Hour of Grace, I start putting the 9 creche sets around the rooms--all with the 3 Wise Men far removed so they can travel to their destination and finally land on January 6th which yes, is the end of the 12 days of Christmas--but no not the END of the Christmas season--that is February 2nd-Candlemas. And then we have two weeks off before Ash Wednesday on the 18th of February.

Here are some ways to enjoy Christmas through the Whole Advent and Christmas Season--

St Nicholas Feast Day-December 6th—great fun for the children and grandchildren.  Tradition is to put gold chocolate coins in the children’s shoes.  Then as a family you go from there-special breakfast, or dinner, or out to eat and movie night. A good teaching moment too—how did he become a Saint? Taking care of the poor and those in need- we are always called to help the poor.
December 8th-Immaculate Conception-Wonderful Holy Day—and yes this year there is a work around the Sunday-Monday mass if two in a row is simply too much for you-you must make your mass obligation. But, if you go to Sunday mass after 4:00 PM according to Cannon law that is an anticipatory mass for the following day- your Mass would count as the obligation of mass on the 8th.  Some will try and say that you have to have the readings of the mass to be valid-but that is nowhere to be found in Law .Giggles.  I know you were thinking that.
I like to begin my home decorations after this mass and finish up by the 12th.  Of course December 12th is the glorious Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I suggest you treat it as a Holy Day if you want any favors from your Mother. Seriously.
I have nine creche sets which I put in different places, and with each one the 3 Wise men are put away a ways and they travel to Bethlehem.  They arrive January 6th.

 Now you all know the 6th is Epiphany, but how many of you think that is the end of the Christmas Season? 
You would be wrong. As Catholics we take our cue from our Elder Brothers in the faith-the Jews-we celebrate in Octaves and in Forty Day cycles.  So we have our Christmas Eve Mass—so wonderful, and then we come home to late night snacks and some presents.

 Christmas Day (a Holy Day if you have not made the Vigil) and then we keep the celebration going for Eight Days and it cumulates on New Years Day (another Holy Day of obligation and need to make mass) is the celebration for the Great Mother of God, Mary Most Holy.
Then we continue to keep the Season of Christmas-Christ in our hearts-come as the Emmanuel-The Christ Child all the way to February 2nd-Candlemas. The first day out of the Christmas Season is the 3rd and St. Blaze Feast Day where we have the blessing of the throats and blessing of candles at Candlemas.
A Christmas Version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah that will Give You Chills

Notes for a Reflection Talk to Grandparents:
Now for those of you who have raised your own children and think that life is passing you by—this is for you. Samuel, the Old Testament Prophet was very great in Israel’s history. I Samuel 1-2-3 tells the story of Samuel's birth and very good to read if you do not know it well.
During this historical period Israel unlike the heathen nations around them had no King—they were ruled by a Prophet of God. And sadly the previous prophet, Eli had gotten very old and had left the running of all things to his two sons—and they were corrupt.  Actually, they were so evil that God decided to kill them-have them die in such a way that all would know it was a judgment of God to the way they acted and to the fact that he as there Dad did not stop them.  So Hophni and Phineas, the father Eli, and the son’s wife all died in the same day.
And Samuel became Judge of Israel and Scriptures say Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life and was the best Judge and Prophet Israel had seen—and when he became old, he appointed his two sons to rule over Israel.  Now you would think, Samuel would be very aware of the way things turned out under Eli, and that he would make sure things did not go badly with his sons----but NO, his sons started down the same path of doing what worked for them, accepting bribes-and it got bad enough that the people had a March on Samuel and said—look you are old, they are no good-appoint us a King.
Of course I am leaving out many details and building a particular story.  We can address how wrong it was to want a king and the judgment of God that came upon them for that choice and make comparisons to today’s government and problems in another talk.  What I want you to consider is this.
Eli and Samuel were just like so many of us—it takes such effort to hold a family together, to make a living and to build and keep a carrier that will give you the ability to provide for your family—and so many of us as parents make the same mistake made famous in Harry Chapin’s famous song—the Cats in the Cradle. And our children do not always come out the way we had hoped, prayed for and dreamed all our dreams around.
One of my favorite Bible verses—Romans 2:4 “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”
I grew up singing it this way and it became a prayer of my heart:It's your kindness that leads us to repentance, oh Lord,  Knowing that You love us-No matter what we do-Makes us want to love You too.
God’s Kindness is Grandchildren
Heman- I Chronicles 25:5
The Chief Seer of David-Choir Director to the King
God gave him fourteen sons and three daughters—and none of them ever departed from the Temple of the Lord or its service.


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