"Walking in the way and the love of the Lord"
I have decided to keep a gratitude journal. They are available everywhere now, titled and ready to record your thanks. But any kind of notebook will work. I’m feeling blessed right now. God has given me so many gifts and graces and I find that sometimes, because life gets in the way, I can forget to say a simple “thank you.” And because my needful prayers can sometimes consume me, that “thank you Lord” can easily be left hanging in the air. So, with pen in hand, I will pray my thank you in writing it down.
The other morning sitting in my prayer chair, a book that had been closed for many years, caught my eye. I hesitated (don’t know why) but then picked it up and opened it to the daily reading. The book is called, "Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy" it was written by Sarah Ban Breathnach. My mom gave me this book years ago. I had read it then and it became one of those books to keep. One that you don't want to get rid of because you know whenever you are called to open it, it will speak to you. Well yesterday was that day!
There it was, Gifts of the Magi. It was written with such simplicity and beauty.
She lists seven sets of gifts, saying that the real gifts of Christmas were wrapped in miracles. Here are the miracle gifts that she writes about.
The first gift was of Spirit, the Spirit of the Unconditional Love of God for mankind.
These miraculous gifts are not to be found in malls or on the internet. These are gifts we cannot order online. They are only welcomed and appreciated by an open heart.
And in the spirit of Christmas, we need to share these gifts of little miracles, to family, friends and even to casual acquaintances.
Never forget that we are God’s hands on earth. And never forget that there are many times when God works his miracles through us.
Awesome, isn’t it!
I hope each and everyone one of you has a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May the Lord continue to bless you and your loved ones!
Love and Peace to all,
Mary Maddox/Prayerful Path
"Yes . . . St. Nicholas was known to ride a donkey laden with gifts for children before he graduated to flying reindeer!"
Today, December 6th is the feast day of Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children.
St. Nicholas of Myra is a major saint in many European and Eastern countries. Saint Nicholas would spread good will and charity towards the poor.
"It has been told that St. Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra, threw bags of dowry money, either through a window or down a chimney, into the home of an impoverished family to rescue their daughters from being sold into slavery. This was just one of his many acts of good will and charity towards the poor, especially poor children." ~ Gretchen Filz
From this act of kindness, a tradition grew. Children would leave their shoes out overnight in front of the fireplace, on the windowsill, or outside their bedroom door so that St. Nicholas would fill them. He would come and fill the shoes with special fruits, candies and other small gifts.
Let us follow in the steps of St. Nicholas and help someone in need. I am sure each and everyone of you already have ways that you help others but this Advent lets try something new. Here are a few ideas.
Here are a few organizations you might wish to donate to.
A Prayer to Saint Nicholas of MyraO
Good St. Nicholas,
you who are the joy of the children,
put in my heart the spirit of childhood,
which the gospel speaks, and teach me to seed happiness around me.
You, whose feast prepares us for Christmas,
open my faith to the mystery of God made man.
You good bishop and shepherd,
help me to find my place in the Church
and inspire the Church to be faithful to the Gospel.
O good Saint Nicholas, patron of children, sailors and the helpless,
watch over those who pray to Jesus, your Lord and theirs,
as well as over those who humble themselves before you.
Bring us all in reverence to the Holy Child of Bethlehem,
when true joy and peace are found. Amen.
THE OTHER WISE MAN
By: Kathleen Aparo
On that sacred night of nights
A barn owl watched it all
He saw the woman bending there
Then heard the angels call
He watched the shepherds bow their heads
The sheep in wonder stare
And when the star moved over all
He saw the baby there
He wondered at the scene below
As he whispered in the night
Whoo whoo whoo
And the Babe smiled with delight
He did not know just how he knew
Perhaps it was the star
Or the wisemen on their camels
Who had come so very far
But the owl knew this little child
Would change men through the years
And that the love within his words
Would comfort all their fears.
Then an angel looked upon the owl
And spoke as in a prayer
“your wisdom is a special joy
To the blest child laying there
And so dear owl through out the years
You shall be known as wise
And in the darkness of the night
You’ll see with special eyes
And every time you whisper soft
Your gentle whoo, whoo, whoo
A soul will find his way to God
Through the Babe who smiled on you.”
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Emmanuel. ~ Isaiah 7:14
Challenge: Rejoice, Emmanuel!
During this season of wonder we are given an amazing gift. The biggest gift of all, the biggest treasure of all treasures. We are called to contemplate something truly astonishing. In this stillness, in the quiet of the night we receive a message. A message of hope, peace, joy and love. Emmanuel
If we are not careful, it will pass us by. So let us, ignore the headlines, ignore all the shouting from the world. Do not listen. Ignore the taunting and in this moment, in this season be enthralled by Emmanuel.
God is with us. Emmanuel.
Close your eyes, sit in silence and take this in. Reflect on this gift. This amazing love story that is taking place right in front of you. The incarnation is the tenderest, most daring love letter ever written. So turn off that Hallmark Movie, sit and reflect on this love story which we are all a part of.
"I love you so much. I long for you. You cannot become as I am, so I will become as you are. You cannot reach Me, so I will inhabit you. There shall never be anything between us ever again. Your darkness is now My light. There is no part of you I refuse. I withhold nothing from you." ~Jennifer Hartline
Jesus came. He is born. He became one of us. Rejoice in this! There is none beside Him. Only Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. Nothing is more deserving of our attention. Whatever else is going on, fix your gaze on Emmanuel. Look with a grateful heart. Life will happen. Work, obligations and issues will need to be dealt with. Don't let Advent blow past you, don't let your worry and stress stop you from seeing and feeling the miracle of Emmanuel each and every day.
"In our pain and puzzlement, God is with us. In our sadness and yearning, God is with us. In our doubt and fear, God is with us. Through Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit, God is with us. And not just with us, but for us, beside us, before us, behind us, within us, and among us. So we are comforted, even as we pray, "O Come, O come, Emmanuel." ~ source: thetheologyofwork.org
Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm
all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace!
Sleep in heavenly peace!
As I sang this song in the grotto where Our Lord Savior Jesus Christ was born, the words came to life. I had just waited in line to visit the birth place of Jesus. As I waited in line, I started down the stairs and into the grotto; you could feel the presence of Our Lord. A chill started to fill the air. Was it the coolness of the grotto or was it the Holy Spirit which was all around us. I imagine it was a little of both. I waited in anticipation, just as we wait during advent. I took the stairs, one by one. As I waited, I could see everyone in deep prayer. Wondering, what will I do as I touch the birthplace of Our Lord? What will I say to him? I couldn’t wait to get there. As I arrived to the birthplace, we were each given time to kneel down and touch the star which was the spot of Jesus’ birth. I knelt, I reached out and I cried. I cried and kept saying thank you, thank you, thank you. All the thoughts and ideas that I thought of as we came down the stairs were gone and all I could do is say Thank you. As I stepped back into the grotto, our group gathered and we sang Silent Night. I couldn’t even get the first line out, I broke down and cried tears of Joy.
These are the tears of joy we should feel each and every day. The tears of Joy Our Lady of Medjugorje promises us, “if you knew how much I loved you, you’d cry for joy.” These tears of joy our gifts from Our Lord, if we knew how much He loved us we would cry tears of joy. We were given such a big gift on Christmas day, we were given Jesus. Jesus who loves us, who guides us and who forgives us; Jesus who comes to us every time we go to Mass in the Eucharist; let us give back to Jesus. Let us say Thank you.
This Christmas and throughout the year, let us say Thank you. Let us say thank you by giving to the Lord.
What better way to say thank you, than to give gifts to others. Let us share His love with others. So give your love! Give of yourself! Share the love and sweetness of Jesus through the light of your eyes. Give that loving look, give those kind words and give that good deed. Be like Jesus to others, give that Love.
What better way to live Christmas each and every day. Live in His love, share in His love and feel the peace and joy in His love.
Challenge: Be like Jesus to others
“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou
Prayerful Path/Mary Maddox
Saint James, pray for us that we may be willing to leave everything to follow Jesus as you did. Help us to become special friends of Jesus as you were. Amen