Friday, December 7, 2012

Advent...waiting "patiently"

This was the year it was going to be different. I got all the cards out right after Thanksgiving (yours is coming, Lisa...I put "Michigan" instead of "PA" Sorry ;op) and I bought all the gifts. They were even wrapped before the first candle was lit (who knew that I would receive grandmother's gifts via Amazon, unwrapped? Grrr). Anyway, the point is, I was done.

Being done would allow me all this time to be prayerfully waiting with my family for the Birth of Our Lord. Within these walls, that is what we've been trying to do; for the most part anyway. Outside, however, the pressure to rush into Christmas seems even more extreme than usual. I know it's probably the Dark One tempting my peace into annoyance. I'm doing my best.

I read this yesterday The Annual Advent Argument. It would seem that even Cardinal Dolan is trying to strike a balance while admitting that social pressure is sometimes unrelenting. I've thought and prayed and looked for a solution.

This is how it looks now:
A lovely-smelling but still bare tree and a stocking for Jesus. The stocking is being used to hold our "good deeds", offered to Jesus as a birthday gift. Each time one (or many of us) does something extra good, extra nice, or without any whining, it is written on a slip and put into the stocking. The kids have really gotten into this, even the 2-year-old.

The reindeer, by the way, is a Christmas card holder, brought into the marriage by my beloved. I could live without it but, what can you do? There are non-negotiables in marriage.

St. Nicholas visited us yesterday. That is another conundrum. Is St. Nicholas also Santa Claus? If so, does he come once or twice? Our line is that St. Nicholas inspired many other people, including Santa, to want to be loving and giving in order to celebrate the joy of Jesus's birth.

He only comes once to this house (we don't sign presents from Santa). The stockings are to hold goodies that, along with the gifts, come from mom, dad, and the relatives who, like Santa, want to share in the joy. Is it already causing problems? Some (#2 child). Still, they're not as troubled as if, say, they were still attending Catholic school where the Breakfast with Santa was held last weekend. That is a rant for another time. Or, maybe, they're teaching the whole St. Nicholas connection too. Who knows?

I know this is rambling. I've warned you about that before. I guess my ultimate goal is, like Cardinal Dolan suggests, a little bit each day with the biggest celebration on Christmas, the birthday of Jesus.

This week we will bring out the mangers and begin reading the Christmas Story. Then the carols and learning about the songs and how they relate to the season. Perhaps some lights on the tree (the relatives arrive next Friday). Ornaments to celebrate Gaudete Sunday. Stockings and everything else the last few days. Gifts, as always, don't arrive until Christmas Eve.

We'll see. Life is one big experiment. Ultimately we pray about it and do what we hope is pleasing to Him.

Wishing you a Blessed Feast of the Immaculate Conception (yes, it's a Holy Day of Obligation). Stop reading and get yourself to Mass ;0)

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