Saint Paul believed that rejoicing was a basic disposition that we all should try to maintain, even when things don’t go our way. In his short Letter to the Philippians, in fact, he spoke about rejoicing fifteen times. And let’s not forget that Paul was in prison when he wrote the letter! He was not going to let his circumstances rob him of his joy.
So how did Paul maintain a joyful disposition? First, he rejoiced because he knew Jesus’ love. If you back up just two chapters in this letter, you’ll see him singing a hymn that extols Jesus’ willingness to empty himself, become a man, and die on the cross (Philippians 2:7-8). And then in the next chapter, he writes, “I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (3:8). The thought of Jesus’ love–a love that gives of itself freely–continually filled Paul with joy.
Second, Paul rejoiced in the Philippians themselves. They were his joy and his crown (Philippians 4:1). They were his dear friends who had joined him in a “partnership for the gospel” (1:5). He rejoiced because he knew he had brothers and sisters who loved him and supported him in his faith.Read More »
Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year
Snowflakes in the air
Olden times and ancient rhymes
Of love and dreams to share
Sleigh bells in the air
Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there
Christmas time is here
We’ll be drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year…
Waiting in Expectation
Waiting patiently for God always includes joyful expectation. Without expectation our waiting can get bogged down in the present. When we wait in expectation our whole beings are open to be surprised by joy.
All through the Gospels Jesus tells us to keep awake and stay alert. And Paul says, “Brothers and sisters … the moment is here for you to stop sleeping and wake up, because by now our salvation is nearer than when we first began to believe. The night is nearly over, daylight is on the way; so let us throw off everything that belongs to the darkness and equip ourselves for the light” (Romans 13:11-12). It is this joyful expectation of God’s coming that offers vitality to our lives. The expectation of the fulfillment of God’s promises to us is what allows us to pay full attention to the road on which we are walking.
The Challenge of Aging
Waiting patiently in expectation does not necessarily get easier as we become older. On the contrary, as we grow in age we are tempted to settle down in a routine way of living and say: “Well, I have seen it all. … There is nothing new under the sun. … I am just going to take it easy and take the days as they come.” But in this way our lives lose their creative tension. We no longer expect something really new to happen. We become cynical or self-satisfied or simply bored.
The challenge of aging is waiting with an ever-greater patience and an ever- stronger expectation. It is living with an eager hope. It is trusting that through Christ “we have been admitted into God’s favour … and look forward exultantly to God’s glory” (Romans 5:2).Read More »
Think back to a time when you were chosen for some special privilege or honor. Maybe your employer chose you for a position over other qualified applicants. Or perhaps your teammates chose you as captain because of you ability to lead others. It’s a good feeling to be singled out in such a way. Or think about how you felt when your future husband or wife chose to marry you and spend the rest of their life with you.
We believe that God chose Mary, before creation of the world, to be the Mother of God. And because he had chosen her for that unique role, he prepared her in a special way. He preserved her from original sin and gave her to two devout, faithful parents.
The God who chose Mary has also chosen you–and from the beginning of creation as well. He knew you. He intended for you to be born. He wanted you so much, in fact, that he sent his Son to redeem you.Read More »
by Karen Zautyk
It was cold in the stable that night, and the animals were huddled together for warmth. The cows and the oxen and the donkeys.
And one little lamb.
Sad, scrawny little lamb, born lame and frail. Too frail to be out with the flock in the fields. The shepherds had carried it into the stable, where it would be safe from the wind and the wolves, for both the wolves and the wind came down from the hills with a fierceness in the wintertime.
The lamb had food and shelter, but that was not enough. It was lonely. Separated from its mother, it felt unloved. The other animals tried to be kind, but they had no time. During the day, they were busy working: The cows had milk to make, the oxen had earth to plow, and the donkeys had carts to pull.
At night, they were all very tired. They’d feed upon the fodder, and then go right to bed. None would talk, none would play. None would even sing a lullaby to a lamb that needed comfort. Every night the lamb would cry, and be told to hush, for its bleats disturbed their sleep.Read More »
Mary, the Virgin Mother of God and the Immaculate Conception, wants nothing more than to help us become as pure and holy as she is.
We often talk about “The Christmas Story,” as if it were one single story. Actually, it’s made up of a number of individual stories, each of which tells us something unique about the Christ child. The story of the Annunciation tells us about Mary’s openness to God’s plan. The story of Zechariah and Elizabeth tells us how John the Baptist – Jesus’ forerunner – was called at birth. The stories of the shepherds and the Magi tell us that Jesus is worth searching for.
There’s another story we don’t often think about because it’s not as long. It’s the story of the innkeeper whose closed doors led Mary and Joseph to the manger. But just imagine for a moment that he did manage to find room for them after all. His inn, not the manger, would be honored throughout the world. There would likely be a grand church marking its location, and pilgrims would flock to it year after year.
As Advent begins, let’s not be like the innkeeper. He missed a grand opportunity because he didn’t make room for Jesus.Read More »