Jottings from Fr. J.J.

Advent Is Here – As a society, we yield more and more to the priorities and the attitudes of the secular culture. Christmas becomes for many people a secular holiday that begins at Thanksgiving and comes to an end shortly after dinner on December 25th. It becomes more and more difficult to observe the Season of Advent with any integrity, even within the Church. With Christmas concerts and Christmas parties, we build to an almost anti-climactic series of services on December 24th and 25th.

Those who insist on waiting to celebrate Christmas when it actually arrives are regarded as rigid folks who are simply out-of-step with reality. Although they have a high view of the faith and the feast, they are often dismissed as modern day Ebenezer Scrooges (i.e., looked at as humbug for wanting to focus in on Advent rather than Christmas). 

But, some of us have some troubles now: potential job losses, income reductions, worries over how to pay mortgages or medical bills, on top of the regular Christmas shopping and grief emotions that flood back of family members and friends who are no longer with us during these sentimental times. 

Let’s let the ghosts of “Advent” past stay where they belong and allow the real reason for the Season of Advent help us. Prepare. Utilize the opportunities before you. 1) Attend the Eucharist and really jump into the scriptures. Do not simply wait for the point of the homily, but ask the Holy Spirit to give you inspiration to hear with new ears and answer, “What significance does this have in my life?” or “What is God calling me to do?” 2) Get an Advent wreath and use it for daily personal prayer or for a family grace before meals. Grab one of the 1001 supplements for daily prayer and read the simple reflection. Discuss it with your spouse and family. 3) Be a person of hope (which the pink candle symbolizes in the Advent wreath). Sure we are surrounded with challenges, but we also have a God who loves us so much that He became one of us, so celebrate this. Create a welcoming disposition and remind an unbelieving world what He has done. 4) Add more personal prayer. Close your eyes and breathe in deeply. Listen to the sounds around you and hear the words of the Scriptures. 5) Get inspired and do something generous for someone else. This could simply mean being a better listener to those around you.

Whatever you do, be creative and do not ignore the reason for the season. I mean the season of Advent. If you prepare, He will touch you in ways that you cannot imagine, and then you will really be able to celebrate Christmas.

Thanks To The K Of C – Just a quick note of thanks to our K of C council who not only spent several hours putting up all of the lights on the property getting ready for the Christmas Ball and the Christmas season, but also for donating all the beautiful Advent wreaths to hand out to those who do not have them. Good job brothers, you are allowing St. A’s to literally and figuratively allow His light to shine.

I want to extend a spirit of gratitude and well wishes to our exiting Grand Knight Mark Brezinski, who had to step down from his position because of a job opportunity out of state.  He served us well for the last several years. Mark, know of our prayers and support. But also, gratitude and congratulations go to Gary Parent who stepped up and was voted in as St. Anastasia Council’s new Grand Knight.

 God bless,
Fr. J.J.