December 22, 2010 – Christmas and Other Stuff

I went with a little different plan this go around with the blog.  With all of the activities surrounding the Bishop’s visit to our parish last weekend, and of course with the celebration of Christmas this coming weekend, I decided to squeeze a blog entry in between the two.  So to my ever loyal readership (all 3 or 4 of you), I expect things to get back to normal after the Christmas season.  But I’m here now, so let’s talk ….

Before getting into my Christmas thoughts, let me first say a few words about the Pastoral Visitation of Bishop Braxton to our parish this past weekend.  All in all I thought it was a successful visit.  I believe he was pleased with his experience here, and I think it gave us a chance to experience the Bishop in a little bit more of an informal setting.  The give and take was very good – there were thoughtful questions asked and thorough answers given.  I learned several things about the scripture, etc. from the Bishop’s responses.  We certainly can question his leadership qualities and management style, but we cannot question his knowledge of theology and his love for our faith.

We were of course concerned about the timing of the visit given that it was the weekend before Christmas and there was decorating to do and other things that had to be re-arranged, but I think the experience was a positive one for our parish and for the Bishop, and I think it was a fitting way to end our Advent preparation and enter into the joyous time of Christmas.  It was another sign of proof that our parish is made up of good folk, and we’re doing many things right.  THANK YOU!

I’m enjoying a rare week off of work this week, so I have been catching up on errands and cleaning things that haven’t been cleaned in, well, in a long time.  Yesterday I went to Sparta and made the mandatory stop at the Super Wal-Mart.  Little did I know what I would encounter while fighting the pre-Christmas crowds.  (A quick observation: Why is it that in every aisle I really need to get into there is an impromptu family reunion going on; “Oh I haven’t seen you in years!  Where are your kids now?”  Just wondering.).  First I went into the soda aisle and saw an older lady, trying her best to be a monkey, climbing up the shelves to retrieve a bottle of Pepsi.  I got there just in the nick of time to get the bottle for her.  Then an older gentleman dropped a bunch of his coupons and walked off without realizing it, and I was able to pick them up and give them back to him.  Then I experienced a first in the bakery section when one of the employees approached me and asked if I could button the cuff on her shirt sleeve because she had to keep her hands sanitary.  My first thought was “gee, we just met”, but I stepped in and handled the situation.  I began thinking that before I get to the checkout somebody is bound to need CPR!  But I had an uneventful trip through the rest of the store.

Now doing a few little kind acts doesn’t make me a hero in any way,  and in fact doesn’t make me any different than most folks.  But I still felt a little sense of pride walking out of the store, and I also thought back to the situation I was in at this time last year, when my health problems would not have allowed me to perform even a simple act of kindness.  No matter what I receive for Christmas, I will get no better gift than that of improved health and the ability to give of myself again.  THANKS BE TO GOD!

OK, there’s this little Christmas thing coming in a couple of days, so I will continue the age old tradition (that I began last year).  If I ruled the world and had the power to do anything I wanted (Donald Trump and Bill Gates, take a back seat), I would grant the following Christmas wishes:

To Kathy Albrecht – I would invent something like the “roomba”, the robotic vacuum cleaner, except this robot would roam the KC Hall and automatically dispense iced tea into the empty glasses.

To Stan Musial – to be healthy and strong enough to attend and enjoy the ceremony when he receives the Medal of Freedom.

To Father Gene – a year filled with baptisms and devoid of funerals.

To our parish – that one lucky parishioner hits the big lottery and decides that they really don’t need the money, so they instead will donate it to the church.

To our President and Congressional leaders – a new found attitude of compromise and a real effort to work for the common good.

To Tony LaRussa –  a one-way ticket to his California home.

To the St. Louis Rams – 2 more wins and a stunning first round upset in the playoffs.

To my Mom – again, anything she wants.

To me – continued improved health and a lightning strike that takes out the old TV’s in my house so I finally have an excuse to get a flat-screen.

To our world – that there be a renewed sense of the Christmas spirit and that world leaders work for peace and justice.

My final wish: that you have a blessed Christmas and that you are able to spend the holidays with your loved ones near.  Pray for a little snow but not so much as to keep people from traveling where they need to go.  Thank you for all of your encouragement and support this past year.  And of course remember that “Jesus is the reason for the season”.

I am leaving you with a link to a YouTube video of some pre-school kids answering questions about their knowledge of Christmas.  It is really cute!  Here is the link:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ki8EcnVbd-Q

My thoughts next week will be on the year that is past and the year ahead.  Ain’t I filled with originality?  Enjoy your Christmas celebration!  Peace.

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