Category Archives: Advent
“Be the change you want to see in the world”
“Never change who you are”
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, No one thinks of changing himself.”
“You were born this way”
These are all familiar quotes to us. We hear them in music, in movies, and see them on cheesy prints they sell at gift stores. One challenges us to change ourselves for the good of the world, while the other embraces comfort in not changing at all.
Often people assume they can change the world by giving in to who they feel they are. This means embracing all faults and making them excusable by thinking that removing those faults would be dishonest to who they are. For example, I really struggle reaching out to people. I am shy about meeting new people, and often I make excuses for myself because I am too afraid to get out of my comfort zone. I found out there is another new mom not far from me and I was so afraid to reach out to her. I made excuses like “she’s a bit older than me”, “she won’t like me” , “she is a stranger”, and “I’m too shy”. I convinced myself it was okay to just keep to myself because of my introverted nature. It took several weeks for me to just send her an e-mail.
It seems more apparent that people would rather change their surroundings than change who they are internally. We may challenge ourselves to do good deeds, which in turn can make an impact on ourselves, but it is only temporary if it isn’t pursued and ultimately will yield little or no fruit if we do not continue to change ourselves.
We may need to reflect on the little things we do and ask ourselves some hard questions. Am I humble? Am I modest in dress? Do I love selflessly? Do I always expect something in return when I do something kind for someone else? Do I really put God first?
The change we embrace must not be solely fuelled by the desire for what we wish to see happen in the word nor in what the world wants from us. Instead, any change we make must be rooted in Christ, who is truth and love. It is only by Him that we can be made perfect. This conversion is about seeking holiness rather than temporary happiness.
Christianity calls us to change the world by changing ourselves daily by picking up our cross and conforming out lives to Christ. It means turning away from sins that we may have allowed to become habits in our daily lives. It requires repentance. A murderer can become a capuchin, but it requires a change of heart through conversion, not just once, but daily.
As the Christmas season draws near, let us prepare our hearts for the celebration of the Incarnation. Let us change our ways and continue to pursue a real relationship with Christ, one that requires us to change and to grow. Let us change into the people of God, not of the world.
In the spring, there always seems to be a sprinkler going, a dog barking, or the songbirds from Bambi singing about springtime. In the summer, there is always a boombox playing somewhere or kids hanging out outside. In the fall, there is always noise as the leaves rustle in the wind. It seems that every season brings with it a different kind of noise.
The winter is coming upon us in Canada. The days are shorter. The nights grow longer. I do love the winter regardless of the cold and the loss of daylight. To me, there is something about this season (liturgically and environmentally) that brings me the greatest sense of peace. In my old neighbourhood, I loved being outside in the winter. I lived not too far from a small wood with fields on either side by the schools. It was always unbelievably silent in the winter. It was like the world was on mute.
I sometimes wonder if the night Christ was born was as silent as some of the winter nights I experienced. The answer? Probably not. He was surrounded by animals. Shepherds showed up later, and if you have ever been near sheep, there is usually always some sheep trying to start up a ‘baa-fest’. The wise men came as well, bearing their gifts. There was probably always something going on. There was probably always some kind of noise.
As Christmas approaches, I think we need to prepare in our hearts a place that is silent, peace-filled, and reverent. Adoration Chapels are an amazing place to encounter silence. People came from all over to come and adore Him and spend time with Him. In a sense, the wise men and shepherds demonstrated the the distances people would go to see the newborn King. Shepherds travelled from a few fields away and the magi that travelled thousands of miles. Both came to honour the babe in a manger in a humble stable, and both bowed to Him.
How far would we go to spend time with Christ in silence and in what ways can we do this?
There is the obvious way of going to adoration at your local church. Unfortunately, not every parish has perpetual adoration, but adoration and benediction are celebrated at most parishes weekly. The benefit of perpetual adoration is that you can go whenever you like. There is a beautiful silence in an adoration chapel. I can’t even explain it. Each time I go, there is a sense of peace. I can almost hear in my heart, “I am here, and I have been waiting for you.” I reflect in my heart that the Eucharist before me is also the little infant that so many years ago was visited in a humble manger.
The other way is in this way: silence your heart. Silence your mind. Listen. Shut everything down around you, and do this daily. Welcome Him into your heart. We should meditate on the joyful mystery of the incarnation and the nativity, and remind ourselves of His sacrificial love that He showed so profoundly on the cross. At this time of year, I can imagine Him sleeping soundly in the manger, and then opening His eyes and staring at me, and then He smiles. In the blink of an eye, His eyes meet mine again, but this time, He is on the cross.
This time of year is filled with business. Malls are flooded with people buying Christmas presents. People host Christmas parties for family and friends. Students are all coming home to be with their family members whom they haven’t seen in months. I won’t forget to mention the Christmas music that is also blaring everywhere. There is a lot of noise, and while it is all for the sake of celebration, we should show Christ our King homage in quiet humility. This Christmas, I encourage you all to take time to make silence and to make room for Christ again. Spend time with Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Talk to Him in your prayer at home, and during the day in your heart. Please pray for me this Christmas season. I will be praying for you.
I found this incredibly informative about where you can attend adoration.
Happy Feast day of St.Nicholas! He literally punched Arius in the face. POW! Right in the kisser! Saint Nicholas, Pray for us!
O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.
Emmanuel means “God-with-us”. I thought it was very fitting that the symbol for the Jesse tree ornament today was the Eucharist. The Eucharist truly is God-with-us, not only did he enter physically into our world centuries ago, but he remains with us in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. He is not God was with us, or God will be with us, but God with us, present tense. When that host is elevated during consecration on Christmas Eve, and every other day, I’m going to try and remember to proclaim with the Church “O Emmanuel!”
This is the last post for the Advent Challenge with tomorrow being Christmas Eve. I hope all of you had a fruitful Advent, and wish you a Blessed Christmas and New Year!
What else we did for Advent today: