The First Sunday Of Advent

Reading 1 Jer 33:14-16

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
In those days, in that time,
I will raise up for David a just shoot ;
he shall do what is right and just in the land.
In those days Judah shall be safe
and Jerusalem shall dwell secure;
this is what they shall call her:
“The LORD our justice.”

I wait for Advent impatiently all year long. I love Christmas, and Advent gives me structure and meaning to build my anticipation, my excitement, my worship around. There are so many people who hate the holidays because they let the secular demands overshadow the spiritual meaning of Christmas, and the joy to be found in sharing the miracle of the birth of the Christ child with our families and friends.

For Catholics, Advent is not supposed to be “Christmas season is here, party hard” although we do feel the joy, attend the parties and dinners and spend mad hours shopping.

Advent is a season of longing and preparation for our Lord’s coming. It is a time to examine our lives and our hearts, to remember to stop the mad pace of a frenetic world, and to penitentially prepare for that one most miraculous night when our Lord came to dwell with us, and the Word was made flesh.

For many people who face the holidays alone, it is a time of acute despair. My hope and prayer is that all people can find a little of the  joy, the hope and the belief that is meant to be ours during this special time of the year. I pray that I might be able to make them just a little happier, or perhaps bring a little hope to someone who needs it.

I have always loved Christmas, as far back as I remember. For me, it was a respite in an unhappy childhood, a time when the ugliness was suspended, and I had a brief few weeks where I could pretend that I lived the life I wished I lived. I have never lost that love, that hope, and I have tried, along with my husband, to make that home I wanted for our children, now grown.

When my sons were small, we found many ways to make Advent a very special time, and some we incorporated into family tradition, practices we followed every year. Putting the tree up the first Sunday of Advent. Three gifts under the tree for each child. Putting out the nativity scene, less baby Jesus of course. Making gingerbread houses. Trips to see the lights and Santa. Taking the boys to buy toys for the Toys For Tots donation. Baking our own special favorite Christmas cookies. Going to midnight mass. Waiting while everyone left so that we could make our way up front to see the creche. Coming home where we read the nativity story while the boys, at long last, put baby Jesus in the manger. Opening presents, and then having our great big Christmas breakfast at 2 in the morning.

The Treehouse admins wish you a joyous Christmas season, and we hope that you will pause a moment and share your joy, and your prayers with us. We will have a recipe post later in December, but we hope that you will share your memories and your special traditions, your reflections on the scripture with us here each Sunday. It would be wonderful to share the celebrations in your town, the gatherings and traditions in your church, your home. The different ways we celebrate in different parts of the country always fascinate me.  This is a season for hope, for joy, a season for belief. Put aside your worldly cares for a few moments and just welcome the Christ Child with us.

Please remember, this is not the place for politics. Honor and respect the intent of this post, and keep the arguments on the many other daily threads. 

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125 Responses to The First Sunday Of Advent

  1. MaryfromMarin says:

    A blessed Advent to you, Menagerie–and to all here.

    Liked by 31 people

  2. David Vicknair says:

    Christ is welcome in my family also!

    Liked by 14 people

  3. Snuzzy says:

    ” And if it seems evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we shall serve the LORD”
    Can I get an AMEN…😇😇😇

    Liked by 20 people

  4. quintrillion says:

    Mary Did You Know?

    Liked by 18 people

    • GB Bari says:

      Thank you.
      Any Christmas song by Pentatonix is great.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Nathan Hale says:

      I love this song!!
      But of course Mary knew; she freely chose to be his mother and to follow Him. May we all.

      Happy Advent!

      Liked by 9 people

      • Black Irish Rose says:

        I love to contemplate Mary’s motherhood, so much like that of all mothers and yet, so completely different. When they drove the nails into his hands, did she must have remembered the tiny hands that reached for her from the manger. And I’ve heard that Jewish mothers are responsible for teaching prayers to their children when they are very young. Imagine: teach the Great I AM his prayers! I was raised Catholic and still consider my self one, though I don’t follow all the rules and guidelines. But when it comes to Mary and her role in salvation history, I do think the Catholic Church is spot on–she has a special place of honor among the saints, as she was no run of the mill mother. What she was given the privilege to do and what she endured needed a special grace from Heaven itself. I don’t worship her–that’s reserved for her Son–but I do honor her.

        Happy and blessed Advent, everyone.

        Liked by 5 people

    • WSB says:

      So beautiful!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Tottie Mitchell says:

      This comment might seem off- topic but …I just moments ago finished reading Hector Tobar’s book Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the MIRACLE that Set them Free. Seeing Pentatonix (had no idea who they were) sing from a cave was another one of life’s beautiful serendipitous moments. The re-birth of the 33 miners from their cave grave is a testimony to a living loving God. Thank you CTH for your meaningful important content.

      Liked by 3 people

    • MaineCoon says:

      One of my favorite Christmas songs which my choir will be singing it its annual Songs of Christmas concerts next weekend to God’s glory.

      Liked by 1 person

    • smurfette says:

      🎄so beauuutiful! I think I may have found my Christmas CD for 2018!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. MIKE says:

    It may seem shallow, but hands down, my best Christmas memory is getting to set up the Lionel train set and the tree. Man I would “Gomez Adams” that baby at the end of a long straight.
    As they say nowadays, good times.

    Merry Christmas to all and May God touch all your hearts, bless you, and keep you safe.
    And thank you menagerie

    Oh, and I still have the train, it runs great. My kids loved it too.

    Liked by 19 people

  6. Donna in Oregon says:

    Yeah Menagerie! Thank you for providing traditions for this time of year. Been waiting all day for you to do the first day of Advent.

    I love this so much!

    Liked by 13 people

    • farmhand1927 says:

      After digging through too many boxes of ornaments and dust collecting secular décor, I’m returning this season to the place in my heart where the Real Christmas resides.

      Our home will serve to remind us this year of the purity and sanctity and everlasting life Christmas brings with only lots of white candles and greenery. Our flocked tree is lit in white with red ornaments to remind us of the blood that Baby was sent to shed for us, white angels and silver trumpets. Some outdoor lights to hopefully calm an anxious heart, soften someone’s grudges or hatred, warm the soul of someone grieving or that has lost in the game of love recently, refresh a tired parent returning home after a long day of work, enthuse a child that possesses the wonder and innocence we all must recapture if we are to inherit His Kingdom.

      The shopping is done because we cut back this year. The baking will begin and end today after church because none of us needs more than a little something sweet. I used to carry forth the tradition of both my grandmothers and my mother of baking so many holiday cookies they were stored under beds in cold upstairs bedrooms between layers of wax paper in dark blue enamel roasters. Some folks these days are trying to capture the “farmhouse feel” in their city homes. I’m blessed to have lived a long life in the real deal.

      Advent always reminds me to reread The Beatitudes. They reveal the Great Joy which is for all people. We are promised great and merciful things….blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the hungry, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted, those reproached and spoken falsely against and when all manner of evil is said against us. No matter our circumstance, the Christ Child, born in that lowly stable, came to us with all the fixes, all the answers, all the cures.

      We suffer in despair in this life, so much of it our own doing. We willfully invite temptation and ignore the road we know we should follow. Yet, Christmas reminds us that no matter what, our Lord keeps coming to look for us, knowing He’ll find us in yet another awful, dark, lonely place. Still and repeatedly, His invitation is always open. The door swings open wide when we finally knock. When we enter His presence and develop that relationship that passes all understanding, we receive what we ask, we find what we seek. His banquet table groans under the load of forgiveness, compassion and new beginnings.

      Prepare Him a place in your heart and your home. O come, o come, Emmanuel.

      Liked by 15 people

      • Menagerie says:

        Amen.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Landslide says:

        Farmhand, I’ve told you before but must say it again….you are a WONDERFUL writer!! Your thoughts and feelings come through with such clarity. You have definitely unwrapped and used that gift that God gave you! Merry Christmas and God be with you and yours in a very meaningful way. ❤️🎄❤️🎄

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Tundra PA says:

        Thank you, farmhand. What a beautiful comment. I hope you will one day share with us the book you will have written (or have already?) about that “long life” on the farm.

        Like

  7. quintrillion says:

    O, Holy Night:

    Liked by 12 people

  8. quintrillion says:

    O Come All Ye Faithful:

    Liked by 11 people

  9. Lucille says:

    Menagerie and all Treepers…

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Thank you, Menagerie, for this post.

    Increasingly, we are experiencing “holiday drift,” where what were originally religious feasts are now being exploited in the secular world, cynically, for commercial purposes earlier and earlier. Thus the fake Christmas trees in shopping centers in September; “Halloween” expanding to fill the entire month of October, etc. (how many days after New Year’s will mass media urgencies towards “Valentine’s Day” commence?).

    The drift is always ever earlier. It’s exhausting, and contrary to the spirit of all holy days.

    But there’s an alternative. We can unplug from media and live authentically according to the liturgical year. Advent is anticipation, and that is itself something to be celebrated.

    Happy Advent everyone!

    Liked by 16 people

    • Homesteader says:

      So true. It is all about the money and as soon as Christmas Day comes they forget all about Christmas because the shopping is over. Christmas is a season, not a day! Christmas Day is only the beginning if Christmas, not the end!

      But we must fight against that spirit in a public way. That is why Christmas lights do not get turned on at our house until Advent begins. We make sure to explain why when neighbors ask why we strung the lights a week ago yet haven’t turned them on. It is eye opening for some. Even the nearby church will no longer light their big star until the first Sunday of Advent. And we wish folks a Merry Christmas right up until Epiphany.

      Since you mentioned it… I will add that I also remind people that it is SAINT Valentine’s Day.

      Liked by 9 people

      • lostandfound says:

        Homesteader, Thank you for this: “Christmas is a season, not a day!” It is something we say without really thinking about it, but today your comments reached out to touch me. I love the Christmas season, I begin my preparations right after Thanksgiving, and i enjoy playing Christmas music in my car all year long. It is with regret that I put away the festive decorations in January, but when my son was overseas in Afghanistan I kept the house decorated until he came home. God loves and blesses us every day of the year, but there is a special wonder and joy during the Christmas season knowing the great love of our Father when He sent His Son to die for us. God bless you! Merry Christmas!

        Liked by 6 people

      • wondering999 says:

        A coworker, Bronx American married to an immigrant from rural Ireland, told me that her husband complained bitterly about the lack of celebration following Christmas… it’s supposed to be Christmastide until Epiphany, time for visiting and celebration. What was this “back to work” right after Christmas Day? I could just imagine him in his Irish accent … and in my heart i agreed with them. Love the time while we have the trees and tinsel and lights. And then… the days begin to get longer once again! And I can look forward to Spring and Summer not that far away…

        Liked by 2 people

    • Lady Sid says:

      A great hymn I used to sing as a child in the Episcopal Church: “Advent tells us Christ is near, Christmas tells us Christ is here. In Epiphany we trace all the glory of His Grace. . .”
      Have a Blessed Christmas Season, everyone!

      Liked by 6 people

    • skeinster says:

      A beautiful post.
      We keep Advent very “strictly” – only the exterior lights are lit until the Last Sunday of Advent, when we put up the tree and the outdoor creche- which we leave up until Epiphany- the real “12 Days of Christmas”.
      Our indoor creche is set up, but empty until Christmas Eve. We have several beloved CD’s of Advent music that are a special part of our preparation.
      We participate in “Holiday” events, as charity demands, but try to keep the penitential spirit as much as possible. A good way to make reparation for the cheapening and secularization of the Christmas season.

      A blessed Advent to all.

      Liked by 4 people

  11. Lucille says:

    Lovely, Menagerie. Thanks so much!

    Liked by 8 people

  12. quintrillion says:

    Because We Believe:

    Liked by 5 people

  13. Margarita says:

    And a most blessed Advent to all of us. Thank you, Menagerie for the beautiful reflection as a fitting preparation for Christmas.

    From the Extraordinary Form Mass of the First Sunday of Advent:

    Lesson from the letter of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans
    Rom 13:11-14
    Brethren: Understand, for it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep, because now our salvation is nearer than when we came to believe. The night is far advanced; the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light. Let us walk becomingly as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in debauchery and wantonness, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
    R. Thanks be to God.

    Liked by 10 people

  14. Conservativeinny says:

    Thank you Menagerie, this post was wonderful

    Liked by 5 people

  15. Motzilla says:

    I am in my 50’s. I was baptized in a community Christian Church by a Reverend when I was 6 months old. Other than that, I have never attended church regularly, but when I did go for short periods of time a few times in my younger days they were ‘non-denominational’ Christian churches and/or ‘Protestant’ churches. It never lasted very long. Mere weeks – two months at best. I even went to one of those big stadium events one time at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego back in the 80’s and ended up down on the field to ask Jesus into my life and into heart. Yet, I always ended up wandering away or being shoved away in the daily struggles of my life. It’s a long story, and certainly everyone has their ‘life story’, but suffice it to say my whole entire life from my very first memories has been one heckuva never-ending battle. However, God did give me an exceptional Guardian Angel. This I know to be true. And, no matter how dangerous my honest work or how destructive my sinful life and how blinding my self-defeating ignorance – Jesus has always been with me. Always calling to me too. I am actually inwardly ashamed that only now, at this stage of my life, do I fully realize this, and that I fully acknowledge and admit it….. and I confess as much to one and all….. through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault!

    A few years ago, Jesus started calling to me again, rather forcefully this time. Finally, starting just 3 months ago at the beginning of September 2018, all of a sudden I found myself going to a Roman Catholic Church. And, just a couple of Sunday evenings ago, I began my Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) classes. I’ve been going to morning Rosary Prayer weekday mornings, and staying for weekday Mass, as well. I haven’t missed a Sunday morning Mass thus far. I am not permitted to take communion or confess as yet, but I am chomping at the bit to do so on a regular basis. This will be my first “Advent” ever. And, I am already experiencing changes in my life. Real, positive changes. I am truly committed to this, my personal life’s struggles aren’t that important to me anymore, Jesus is, but it hasn’t been the least bit easy. My battle wages on….. and on.

    I have no real idea what I am doing. I have no real idea what to do. I do not know the nomenclature, and I do not know all the important Holy dates and Holy times of the year. But, I am trying to learn, and I am learning – slowly but surely. I’ve always been a decent fellow I think, law-abiding and hard working and generally charitable, but I’ve never known real peace. True peace. Already, though, I am finding some peace, and hope too, but I must persevere. And, I will – God help me.

    One thing I do know is that, ultimately, it is all about Jesus born, Jesus crucified, Jesus Christ risen, and doing for others in the name of God and Jesus Christ. I do hope and I do pray that everyone has a joyous and loving Advent and Christmas season in Jesus’ name. Also, I still don’t know how these things work, but, if you can, please say a word or two in prayer for me if you are willing. Thank you and God Bless you truly everyone.

    Liked by 27 people

    • MightyMustardSeed says:

      With great joy, you’ll be in my prayers. Specifically for Prince of Peace to envelope you.

      Liked by 9 people

    • Ad rem says:

      Rejoincing with you Motzilla! Just put youself in Our Savior’s hands….he’ll show you the rest of the way.

      Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV
      Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

      Liked by 12 people

    • Homesteader says:

      Welcome home, Motzilla! There is a man at our little church that has come for fortybyears yet never took the step to become Catholic. Until last Sunday. I am so happy for you both. Thanks be to God!

      Liked by 11 people

    • jhynds says:

      Wonderful post Motzilla.
      I’d like to share what was passed on to me today, after Mass in Delhi, India. I needed to hear this and will continue to pray and practice it.
      St Thomas Prayer
      Grant me, O Lord my God,
      a mind to know you,
      a heart to seek you,
      wisdom to find you,
      conduct pleasing to you,
      faithful perseverance in waiting for you,
      and a hope of finally embracing you.

      Amen.

      Liked by 13 people

    • TheMachine says:

      “I have no real idea what I am doing…” Yes you do know… you are submitting to Christ and this is where your peace and guidance is coming from. Your story makes me happy to read. Thank you for sharing. Congratulations my friend and let’s pray for each other that our walks with God continue to bring us closer to him.

      Liked by 10 people

    • Menagerie says:

      Motzilla, thank you for sharing your story, your highs and lows, and your hopes. Our God loves us so much that he never abandons us, even at our lowest point, unless we completely turn off the volume, so to speak, His voice is still whispering to us, the call of the Holy Spirit seeking to lead us back on right paths.

      Be assured that I will continue to pray for you on your journey. If you have questions I can help you with please email me at the Treehouse address, and you might put my name on the subject line. Everyday we get hundreds of emails so it can get very hard to sort through them.

      Are you comfortable with your RCIA classes? Most are very good, but occasionally parishes may not have a well trained person to lead them. Read, ask questions, participate. Catholicism is very mysterious to most people not familiar with a liturgical service.

      There is much to experience and learn, and you will not do it it one year. You’ve undertaken an exciting, adventurous and beautiful journey and it will last a lifetime. It is wonderful that you so long for our Lord in the Sacraments. When you receive him your heart should be full of anticipation, joy, and longing.

      When you go into confession, always remember, you are sitting with Jesus, His heart is full of love and understanding, and forgiveness for you. It is said when the priest gives you absolution it is the palm of Jesus placing his hand over your head, his blood cleansing your sins away.

      If you allow yourself, you are about to be able to give up every bit of what you have been dragging around all your life. Use the Sacrament of Confession with frequency and your healing will come.

      You will find the solace and strength and everything else you long for in the Eucharist. May God bless you on your journey, and I will be praying for you.

      Today is a new liturgical year for us Catholics. May your journey this next year lead you on paths of mercy.

      Liked by 9 people

    • Nathan Hale says:

      Welcome!

      My wife and I made the same journey in 2009. Our lives have been transformed in so many beautiful ways ever since.

      God bless you and guide you!

      Liked by 10 people

    • farmhand1927 says:

      Motzilla, thanks for sharing your very personal story. It is genuine and heart felt.

      I’m not Catholic, so like you at this point in your faith journey, I don’t possess knowledge of all the dates and specifics that men from different churches, sects and branches have outlined through the centuries as being necessary and just. In fact, the older I get, the more I lean simply on the 10 Commandants as a roadmap for behavior (and fail miserably at each day), the Lord’s Prayer which Jesus taught us to pray and Scripture. Read a Psalm each day and a Chapter from Proverbs, even that strengthen you for the day. We can use them as flint and steel to kindle our growing faith. Focus also on The Holy Sacraments of Baptism, Marriage and Communion, vital in any Christian life.

      I’m Lutheran but have attended Catholic masses through the decades on different occasions and doing so has enriched my faith and opened my heart to Christ each time. You may not get all the formalities down pat but know this, Christ welcomes you, forgives you, loves you and your real ‘church’ dwells in and through Him and you abide in Him. It’s all been figured out for us, if we first believe!

      Have a blessed Advent and Christmas.

      Liked by 9 people

    • Anne says:

      God Bless You! I will be praying for you and Welcome Home! Peace be with you!

      Liked by 6 people

    • Nordic Breed says:

      God bless you, Motzilla. Continue your path to the greatest discoveries of your life and the eternal love story of God and man. I am a life long Catholic and every day I learn something new about God and His great love for me and all others. Welcome to the fold, and I will pray for you.

      Liked by 6 people

    • MaineCoon says:

      Motzilla,

      Liked by 7 people

    • hoghead says:

      “One thing I do know is that, ultimately, it is all about Jesus born, Jesus crucified, Jesus Christ risen…” Bingo.

      John 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

      Romans 10: 9. “That if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation,”

      Motzilla, we are saved by Grace [undeserved favor] through Faith [the substance of things hoped for/ the evidence of things not seen]. From what you have written, it sounds like the Lord has been pursuing you for years. Many successfully resist him to their destruction; we need to respond/receive his wonderful gift. It sounds like you have! Now, get into the Scriptures…read the Gospel of Mark and then Paul’s letter to the Romans for starters. The Holy Spirit will open his word to you, and give you a solid foundation to grow on.

      Christmas isn’t about the twisted, commercial circus that men have made it. It is about God’s gift to men, the only name by which men may be saved: Jesus. Amen.

      Liked by 5 people

    • skeinster says:

      Prayers for you on the journey! A blessed Advent to you.

      Liked by 5 people

    • ykc says:

      Welcome home!!! God has brought you to The Church that Jesus began when he gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven! I found my home at Easter vigil 25 years ago. I learned very little in RCIA (liberal parish unfortunately), but God, in his infinite wisdom, put the right people in my life at the right time along my journey. Many friends helped me to grow in my faith.

      Perhaps you would enjoy listening to Patrick Madrid’s radio show every Mon-Fri 9:00am-noon (EST). If you don’t have Catholic radio in your area, just download the Relevant Radio app (what I do) or listen online from patrickmadrid.com. Patrick is a renowned Catholic apologist, author, and speaker. He’s also a conservative and doesn’t mince words when it comes to faith and politics.

      Dr. Scott Hahn is a wonderful resource! He is a biblical scholar also a convert! His website is scotthahn.com and also stpaulcenter.com. Dr. Hahn is a professor at Franciscan University and President of the St. Paul Center.

      I would also like to recommend Fr. Heilman at romancatholicman.com. He’s also on Facebook. A very devout and Holy priest!

      Please be assured of my prayers as you continue your journey. God bless.

      Liked by 4 people

      • The Tundra PA says:

        ykc, your RCIA experience sounds much like mine: I learned very little in RCIA (liberal parish unfortunately), but God, in his infinite wisdom, put the right people in my life at the right time along my journey. One of my great blessings was that Menagerie was one of those people that God placed in my path to help me become Catholic, and I will be forever grateful to her for her guidance and teaching. As you can see from this post, she is very good at it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • None of us really know what we are doing! I just believe in Christ and he will guide me. We can pray for each other. I pray for my daughter to start teaching her kids when they young 5 and 3. We raised our kids but she hasn’t gone to church in two years! Who am I to condemn her? Pray that God will protect her and her family!
      Merry Christmas to you and everyone here! Thank you Menagerie for this wonderful post!

      Liked by 4 people

  16. GB Bari says:

    This is now my favorite post of the season….so far!

    Thanks Menagerie, Sundance, and your entire staff!

    Liked by 7 people

    • WSB says:

      Took the words right out of my keyboard, GB. Many thanks for the steady guidance from all leaders, staff, family and contributors in the Conservative Treehouse this last year!

      Best wishes to all in this season of Advent!

      Liked by 4 people

    • 4EDouglas says:

      Got it-thank you.When I was about 8 years old I and my auntie were in our back yard on a dark moonless August night. She was a practicing Christian, but she was in awe and and fear of the starry sky Looking up at he heart of the Milky Way, straight through the bow of Sagittarius. lies the heart of the Galaxy. Everything that is and was rotates around that axis. Creation-real and observably
      true. .”I’m so afraid -it is too big and forbidding.” I looked at auntie and said:
      “to me that’s home..” We’re going there one way or another.” . I was a Spacer then and still am-at 65 I’d ride the rocket tomorrow. God gives us the ability to explore creation. I’m a Baptist, but out church does Advent candles and readings.
      This is another way to “Light this candle!” -that honors the Creator and Son..

      Liked by 3 people

  17. Ghost says:

    Sorry don’t know how to properly post, so i’ll link.

    Liked by 7 people

  18. pawatcher says:

    What a wonderful way to start Advent; with a good joyous cry, excitement, and fond memories of past Advents and Christmases. Tis the Season, Joy.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. CornPicker says:

    Saint Faustina was granted a powerful vision after Holy Communion in which the veil was lifted and she recognized the Child Jesus as the Lord of the universe:

    … I suddenly saw the Infant Jesus standing by my kneeler and holding on to it with His two little hands. Although, He was but a little Child, my soul was filled with awe and fear, for I see in Him my Judge, my Lord, and my Creator, before whose holiness the angels tremble. At the same time, my soul was flooded with such unspeakable love that I thought I would die under its influence. I now see that Jesus first strengthens my soul and makes it capable of abiding with Him, for otherwise I would not be able to bear what I experience at such a moment (Diary, 566).

    Notice how the Lord first strengthens Sr. Faustina so that she can abide with Him and bear this mystical experience. Put another way, it is her love and trust in the Lord that enable her to perceive the greatness of the Child Jesus precisely in His smallness.

    It is no surprise, then, that the Christ Child comes to Sr. Faustina at Mass in another vision to teach her spiritual childhood — to ask her to become little like Himself:

    … I saw the Infant Jesus near my kneeler. He appeared to be about one year old, and He asked me to take Him in my arms. When I did take Him in my arms, He cuddled up close to my bosom and said, It is good for Me to be close to your heart. … Because I want to teach you spiritual childhood. I want you to be very little, because when you are little, I carry you close to My Heart, just as you are holding me close to your heart right now (Diary, 1481).

    How is the Lord inviting us during these remaining days of Advent to become little in His presence? Perhaps He is asking us to abandon our own plans of the perfect Christmas and focus more on loving Him and our families in a spirit of simplicity and humility. That might mean letting go of having the house perfectly cleaned, all of the gifts wrapped to our liking, and preparing all of the holiday foods on our list.

    Or maybe Jesus is inviting us to remember the friend or family member that we tend to neglect over the holidays — perhaps due to some slight. If so, can we swallow our pride and make a point of contacting them?

    Whatever our situation, if we become little, the Lord Jesus on Christmas will be able to carry us close to His Heart — just as He did with St. Faustina.

    Liked by 10 people

    • farmhand1927 says:

      Love your post, CornPicker. So glad you reminded us to feel the nudge if Jesus is inviting us to contact someone we may have a slight with.

      There is someone very dear in my life that is feeling that slight from someone he loves. Please pray with me, if any are so moved, that the person he so deeply loves will be moved to swallow her pride, soften her heart, put aside hurt and come back, and of course, not our will but His be done. Thank you.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Menagerie says:

      I have a particular attachment to the Divine Mercy chaplet. Your post reminds me that I have fallen away from my daily prayers far too often. Thank you.

      Liked by 6 people

  20. Sugarhillhardrock says:

    So many personal advent postings here.
    I am always educated at this address by the providers and posters.
    Thank you Menagerie and my fellow travellers. May God and Jesus bless all of us in the coming hopefilled days.

    Liked by 6 people

  21. Dora says:

    Liked by 5 people

  22. Taximom07 says:

    Thank you Menagerie for the beautiful reflection. This world is missing the peace and assurance that come with walking through the liturgical calendar of the Advent/Christmas season with the Lord. Blessings to you and your family.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Martin says:

    Thanks, Menagerie. I grew up in the Episcopal church, and my memories of our Advent traditions are so very similar, right down to Midnight Mass and the yuuge breakfast.

    With one exception: When I was very young, the tree was put up after all the kids had gone to bed on Christmas Eve, so that it seemed to magically appear, complete with gifts, for Christmas morning. Of course, the note left for Santa with Scottish shortbread and milk was part of the anticipation. Dad must have had fun with that one- but the note was always gone.

    When I was old enough to help put up the tree, it went up earlier either from fatigue or pressure, but was always taken down New Years day.

    Midnight Mass was the only Eucharist that was chanted in our church, and made more special for me when I was an acolyte- doubly so when the bishop was present. The ECW really decked the entire church. Truly special, and wonder for a child.

    Thanks for sparking the memories. It is so easy to forget how relatively innocent we all once were, and kudos to those who continue their traditions. It is so very important.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Lady Sid says:

      Thanks for the good memories of Christmas long ago. The tree went up in our house on Christmas Eve. The Episcopal Church decorations did not go up until then, either! Was difficult for the Altar Guild to do this and get their families’ preparations done at the last minute, too;-)

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Caius Lowell says:

    [ God’s Final Word: His Son ] In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.
    Hebrews 1:1-2 NIV

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Mary says:

    Amen❤

    Liked by 2 people

  26. DSP2 says:

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. …. And the Word became flesh….the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.

    Liked by 5 people

  27. SrPegCJ says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S02KOlw7dlA I have never posted a link before. I hope it works. I’ve always loved this little youtube on explaining Advent. Pax

    Liked by 4 people

      • Menagerie says:

        In regard to Advent and penitence, I found this article, which I quote from.

        https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/advent-the-season-of-forgotten-penitence

        Well, you wouldn’t get far asking people to give up Santa’s jolly red suit in favor of sackcloth and ashes. But there’s one crucial difference between Lent and Advent: Christmas doesn’t have Passion Week preceding it. The penitential observances of Advent always had a festive character to them. The idea was to contain your excitement before Christmas and to use that energy in preparing for Christ’s coming.

        So people took on these penances joyfully—something that only a Christian could do. They’d pause in their celebrations to acknowledge their sins and to clean house spiritually, overjoyed that Christ came to us, but aware of our unworthiness to receive him.

        Liked by 5 people

  28. Menagerie says:

    This might be the best telling of the Christmas story you will ever hear. I might make a stand alone post of it near Christmas.

    Really, only kids do God justice. Many learned men have labored long to teach us about Jesus. Children get it dead on.

    Liked by 6 people

    • MaineCoon says:

      Every year on the first Sunday of Advent, my church’s youth choirs (3 yrs to 5th grade) present their Christmas musical. Today’s was called “Inn at Bethlehem” and what a blessing and fun to watch the story of Christ’s birth through the eyes of children.

      This is the first event I go to to herald in the celebration of the birth of Christ, my Savior.

      And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 18:3

      Liked by 1 person

  29. FofBW says:

    Thank you again Menagerie.

    Your advent posts here on CTH are a blessing and reminder what is really important in our lives given by God.

    May you and your family have a blessed Christmas.

    Liked by 5 people

  30. Raj says:

    I find this time of year a beautiful one as well. I too didn’t have a happy childhood. During this season, my parents did try to make it as joyful as possible. They did the best they could. Now after marriage and a beautiful family, it has slowly erased the despair I had in childhood. God has always been central in my life and I rejoice in his glory. Being a Hindu, I look at religion as a foundational point of view. I believe in a universal God, a loving one of all creeds and races. I wish all treepers a joyous Christmas season and hope that we all allow God to enter into our lives and bless us and all loved ones.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Tundra PA says:

      Welcome, Raj. I don’t recall seeing your name in the comments before (not that I come close to being able to read all of them any more!). Are you by any chance MOTUS’s Raj? Along with CTH, she is one of my daily must-reads, and a Treeper I hope.

      Like

  31. Wishing Everyone a Blessed Advent & Christmas Season!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. dave casper says:

    Thank You CTH. Amen.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. got243kids says:

    Thanks Menagerie.
    “There are so many people who hate the holidays because they let the secular demands overshadow the spiritual meaning of Christmas”

    I live in a small community an hour away from the closest city. There is little “culture” available in these parts.
    For the second year in a row I will provide a Christmas Concert for the locals featuring the music of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. My inspiration for the production was the song: ‘Back to Reason’ a powerful composition reminding us all what Christmas is really about. When I approached the vocalist to perform the song (he had never heard it) he balked that he was not a lead performer. I handed him the sheet music, hit play on the CD and watched his face… He listened, checked the sheet music, listened some more, then turned to me and said “That’s powerful stuff, I’ll do it”.

    I do it as a fund raising event for the local school and pulled (pooled) many talented musicians out of their homes and comfort zones. It took me 3 years to convince them and myself that this event needed to take place.

    It was such a smash hit last year that many who did not attend, thinking it was a talent show, have vowed to attend if we did it again. The vocals we provide on ‘Christmas Cannon’ and ‘This Child’ are angelic. ‘Old City Bar’ is another powerful reminder that not all is lost. My vocalists chokes up every time we perform it; it hit home for many people in these parts. “If we could just make this Christmas thing last”.

    You could say we’ve been worshiping Christmas since July.

    Merry Christmas Treepers, in Jesus name – Amen

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Nordic Breed says:

    I’m sharing my all time favorite Advent chant here. If the YouTube video doesn’t show up, just use the link, since I’ve been unsuccessful in the past in getting the videos to show up in my posts. I hope fellow treepers will be as moved as I am when I hear it and read the translation.

    This great Advent hymn, “Rorate Caeli de super”, from Isaiah 45:8, is chanted during the Divine Office. The versicle/response appears as the introit for the fourth Sunday of Advent (Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite) and other parts of the liturgy throughout Advent. It expresses both longing and hope, repentance and the promise of salvation. We can look at this ancient hymn as our own personal prayer as well as a prayer of a nation steeped in sin desiring deliverance.

    RORATE CAELI

    Refrain:

    V. Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above,
    R. and let the clouds rain down the Just One.

    1. Be not angry, O Lord, and remember no longer our iniquity: behold the city of the Holy One is become a desert: Sion is become a desert: Jerusalem is desolate: the house of thy sanctification and of thy glory, where our fathers praised thee.

    2. We have sinned and are become as one that is unclean: and we have all fallen as a leaf, and our iniquities like the wind have carried us away: thou hast hidden thy face from us, and hast crushed us in the hold of our iniquity.

    3. Behold, O Lord, the affliction of thy people, and send forth Him Who is to come: send forth the Lamb, the ruler of the earth, from the Rock of the desert, to the mount of daughter Sion: that he may take away the yoke of our captivity.

    4. Be comforted, be comforted, my people: thy salvation cometh quickly: why art thou consumed with grief: for sorrow hath estranged thee: I will save thee: fear not, for I am the Lord thy God,
    the Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer.

    Source: Parish Book of Chant
    CMAA
    2012
    http://musicasacra.com/pbc/

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nordic Breed says:

      Oops! The “Te Deum” wasn’t supposed to show up, but it’s another great chant used to celebrate important events. It is a hymn of thanksgiving, so not entirely inappropriate if done after Christmas to thank Jesus for coming among us.

      Like

  35. NJF says:

    Thank you Menagerie for a wonderful post.

    Yesterday we attened an ecumenical Service put on by my daughters college music dept.

    It was held at a local church and was very beautifully done and I loved that all the readings & musical performances were done by the students. A great start to the season.
    and

    Liked by 2 people

  36. pacnwbel says:

    On this day , the First Sunday of Advent, the Anglican service starts with the chanting of the Great Litany in procession around the church. This is followed by a preface offered by parishioners to the lighting of the Hope candle. Later this evening there will be the wonderful Lessons and Carols service with special music, instrumental, soloists and choral. My DH would have been one of the readers, but fate put him in hospital care recently, so he asked his brother, visiting from far away, to read in his stead, a perfect solution all round. Our family wishes one and all a deeper appreciation of this time of preparation, not just shopping and decorating and baking, traditional as they are, but for the reason why we do all these things.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Tundra PA says:

      Prayers for your DH that he quickly regains his health and is able to enjoy a wonderful Advent and Christmastide.

      Like

      • pacnwbel says:

        thank you Tundra, life has been a wee bit more hectic than usual, having to make some changes in the house, but DH gets to come home on Sunday, praise the Lord for some extra time together.

        Liked by 1 person

  37. farmerren says:

    Immanuel.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Sepp says:

    Question: Who is the real Santa Claus?

    Answer: Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia.

    Saint Nicholas helps point the way to our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

    The Saint Nicholas Center has an extensive website filled with prayers, hymns, versions of his Life, stories of miracles, recipes, crafts, and so forth. There is truly a lot of material.

    There is even a photo directory of churches and chapels around the world in honor of Saint Nicholas.

    http://www.stnicholascenter.org

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Gregory Jenkins says:

    Menagerie,

    You do not know me, nor do I know you – But I want to thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart for sharing such a wonderful heart warming story with us all about you, your family and our Heavenly Father. You are truly a blessing to us all during these troubled times! SALUTE!!!

    Sincerely,
    GBJ

    Liked by 4 people

  40. Menagerie says:

    Bishop Barron’s commentary for today.

    Sunday, December 2, 2018

    FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

    LUKE 21:25-28, 34-36

    Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus tells his disciples to be vigilant. Today marks the beginning of Advent, the great liturgical season of vigilance, of waiting and watching.

    What practically can we do during this season of vigil keeping? What are some practices that might incarnate for us the Advent spirituality?

    I strongly recommend the classically Catholic discipline of Eucharistic adoration. To spend a half hour or an hour in the presence of the Lord is not to accomplish or achieve very much—it is not really “getting” anywhere—but it is a particularly rich form of spiritual waiting.

    As you keep vigil before the Blessed Sacrament, bring to Christ some problem or dilemma that you have been fretting over, and then say: “Lord, I’m waiting for you to solve this, to show me the way out, the way forward. I’ve been running, planning, worrying, but now I’m going to let you work.” Then, throughout Advent, watch attentively for signs.

    Also, when you pray before the Eucharist, allow your desire for the things of God to intensify; allow your heart and soul to expand. Pray, “Lord, make me ready to receive the gifts you want to give,” or even, “Lord Jesus, surprise me.”

    Liked by 2 people

  41. Stephen Paul says:

    Thanks for the wonderful post. I’m trying very hard to summon the Christmas spirit. I have a new grandchild ,my first and only and I fear that he may never know the true meaning of Christmas. I have left the Catholic church a long time ago and my grandson was not baptized. I’m trying very hard but it is difficult. his father died of an overdose a few weeks after my daughter became pregnant. it took us a long time to get her away from the narcotics and the life that goes with it. so far it has been good. but like I said I have a fear he will never get the real meaning of Christmas. I’ve been trying to teach him little things here and there but i’m not all that good a teacher.
    Thanks again for reminding me to shut off the world and reflect a bit.
    I come here mainly for politics ! Ive been waiting for the day the story breaks that there is actually equal justice under the law.

    Liked by 4 people

    • VinceWhirlwind says:

      I will pray for you. I’ve been, and still am, in your shoes as well. It’s a heavy cross for sure. I will especially pray to St. Stephen and St. Paul for their intercession on your behalf. I also ask for St. Monica’s help constantly….she walked in our shoes also.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Menagerie says:

      I’ll be praying for you, and your family. Why not go back to mass during Advent? Pray without ceasing for your daughter and grandchild. In teaching him you will relearn your faith.

      You say you aren’t very good, but you are because you love him, and you don’t have to be perfect you just have to do all you can do and ask God to finish the work.

      Perhaps if you return to church you could later ask your daughter if you could take your grandson to religious education class. Children have a way of influencing their parents and grandparents, and God hears the innocent children’s prayers with such love.

      I agree with Vince. Read up on St. Monica and see what perseverance in prayer did for her and her son, not to mention the great works her son, St. Augustine, left for Christianity.

      Liked by 1 person

  42. skeinster says:

    A lovely CD of Advent music from the lovely Benedictine sisters:
    https://music.benedictinesofmary.org/content/advent-ephesus
    There are some Mp3 samples at the link.

    Liked by 2 people

  43. Marcus Zuhlke says:

    Thanks for your declaration of the real reason for this Holiday, the incarnation is God’s gift to us. Also thanks for The Lord’s Prayer, which reminds us that God is in charge in this confused and evil world.

    Have a most blessed Christmas.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. Dora says:

    “He Is Coming!”

    Each year, at the beginning of Advent, the Church reminds us of the prophecies of Jesus and asks us to stop, to ponder and to prepare for our own deaths and the final end of all life.

    Just before Luke begins the story of the Passion of Jesus he presents us with a series of prophecies made by Jesus.

    http://imaginemdei.blogspot.com/2018/12/he-is-coming.html

    Liked by 2 people

  45. Nessie509 says:

    Christmas in Vietnam was the hardest one.
    Now I’m surrounded by grandchildren and Vietnam seems far away, as if it never happened.
    I’m alive because I’ve happened to be near some very talented doctors on every place I’ve lived.

    Liked by 2 people

    • NC Nana says:

      Nessie509, it is good to hear that you have gone on to live a full life.

      I am of the Vietnam generation. After reading your post I went back and read the names on The Wall again.

      We lost 49 lives from our town in the war. One of the men lost was easily the nicest boy in our high school. His father was a pastor in a local church. In school Michauel lived his life as an example to all.

      Men who came home had a lot of hardship to overcome. God Bless you and your family during this Christmas season and all your days ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

  46. vintageteresa383 says:

    Blessed Advent to the Treehouse

    Like

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