December 21, 2013 – Christmas … Already?

No matter how much I keep reminding myself, or how much I look at the calendar, I still can’t believe that we are just a few days away from Christmas.  I’m not sure if it was the late Thanksgiving, or the messed up schedules from the big snowfall, but it just seems that Christmas has come upon us in a big hurry.  I am happy to report that I have my shopping done (well, pretty much).  However, I am also disappointed in myself because I know I didn’t take the time for prayer and reflection during Advent that I should have.  Maybe this is why it seems that Christmas has come so quickly.  I didn’t take that time to block everything else out and prepare spiritually for the season.  Thankfully, we as Catholics can have a “make-up time”, and celebrate the season of Christmas after the 25th of December. In fact, we will have our decorations in church all the way through January 12 this go around.  So even though the radio stations will cut off the Christmas music at midnight on December 26, we can celebrate the gift of the coming of Son of God for several weeks.

Well I have a Christmas tradition here on the blog every year.  I play the game of “if I had the power to give anybody any Christmas gift I wanted to, I would give them …”.  So without further adieu, here we go:

To Father Gene – a bright, sunny day for his Jubilee celebration, and no more additional appointments.

To the Knights of Columbus – larger crowds for the Monday lunches (they have been a bit slim lately).

To Phil Robertson  – his TV gig back.  He was just sharing his views, after all.

To Pope Francis – if I would wish for him an extravagant gift, he would not keep it anyway.  So I simply wish him good health, and the ability to keep on with his ministry.

To the St. Louis Blues – their first Stanley Cup.

To the St. Louis Cardinals – their 12th World Championship.

To the St. Louis Rams – another good draft, and a playoff appearance.

To President Obama – the realization that the Affordable Health Care Plan needs to be ditched and redone.

To my Mom – as always, anything she wants.

To our website – I want to focus more on our Twitter account this coming year, and I want to start an Instagram account for our Parish.  I also hope to see the dream of being able to make contributions online a reality.

To our Diocesan priests – the full support, cooperation, and understanding of their parishioners.

To our Diocese – that our young people will hear God’s call to a vocation to the religious life.

To our world – an end to the persecution of Christians, and a return to the values we had before secularism penetrated our society.

OK. it’s Christmas time, and I don’t want to get into anything too serious.  We know that Christmastime will bring some folks into church that we don’t see very often, and it also may spur some other thoughts into our minds while Mass is going on.  There was a blog this past week called “31 Things You Thought About During Sunday Mass But Won’t Admit.”  Some of the thoughts the blogger had during Mass I’m sure are similar to some of the thoughts we have had.  This is a sampling of his list:

“Got to church on time…all settled in the pew before the opening hymn starts…kids all fully clothed and sitting still…can I get a plenary indulgence or something?”  “Wow, five whole minutes into Mass and the kids haven’t slammed the kneeler into my shins.  I wonder wha- OOOOWWW!!!  SON OF A…!!!”  “Okay, this time I am definitely going to pay attention during the responsorial psalm.  Gosh, I wonder how many marshmallows could fit in this church…”  “Look at that guy wearing the Packers jersey to Mass.  I guess we know what his priorities are.”  “I wish Father would wrap up the homily already.  We’re going to miss the entire first quarter.”  “I think I finally have the new translation of the Creed memorized…here goes…good…good…good…dang!  How can I mess up something so easy?”  “That guy just used his handkerchief.  He better not try to shake my hand at the Sign of Peace.”  “I can’t believe those people who leave right after Communion…they should stay for the end of Mass and the recessional hymn.”  “Maybe next Sunday I should sit in the front row so I’m able to focus better.”

I’m sure we all have had those times when our mind wanders and we have to snap ourselves back to reality.  We are human, after all.  Thoughts like … um … well… “I wonder if we’ll get outta here in time to hit the breakfast buffet at Reid’s?”, or “Gee, over 20 years now, and that altar is still pink.”  And I’m sure you have some of your own.  However, just as I know I can redeem myself for not being as attentive during Advent as I should have been, we can all be redeemed for letting our minds wander during Mass.  We just need to remind ourselves that this our opportunity to leave those distractions at the door for at least a short time, and to give ourselves over to the Lord.

I want to wish you, your family, and friends a blessed Christmas.  May the newborn King bestow His abundant blessings upon you now and throughout the coming year.  I continue to be very grateful to you and everyone who continues to read my random thoughts each week, and to all who support me in my other church endeavors.  I couldn’t think of a more wonderful Christmas gift.  My favorite Christmas song is “O Holy Night,” and one of my favorite versions is by John Berry.  Here is a YouTube of his performance:

Have a great week, and a wonderful Christmas celebration.  Peace.


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