It is here again in the midst of a pandemic, the treatment of which is robbing many people of enjoyment and peace in their lives. But because of Jesus there is HOPE and we must remember that “Jesus Is The Reason For The Season.”
Hope: There is ALWAYS HOPE, no matter what
Pat and I wrote our book In Life The Journey Is Everything (hardback with proceeds to St. John Paul II Life Center at https://thelifejourneybook.com/ or paperback on Amazon) for that same reason, namely to give people “hope” that each of us can overcome tragedy in our lives—which we all have sooner or later—with faith and trust in God.
This year, we started Advent with encouragement from our Pastor, Father Dean Wilhelm, to slow down, pray more, attend daily Mass more, reflect on our lives and the coming of Jesus more, as we watch and wait for that marvelous day, Christmas.
Learning About Christmas Traditions
I was listening to the Drew Mariani Show on Relevant Radio on the afternoon of December 10, 2021, (go to archives to hear). On my way to the Austin airport to pick up Father Patrick Devine (a delightful Irishman working and living in Africa for the past 33 years, but still with that lovely Irish accent, more on that later), when on the show Mariani and his guests discussed Christmas traditions.
There is so much meaning even in the simple matter of the favorite green and red colors for Christmas – green for evergreen, the everlasting presence of Jesus – and red for His blood shed so that persons born for all generations might have the gift of eternal life, and so many more descriptions confirming it is Jesus’s season!
Who can help but sadly recall that for Mary and Joseph there was “no room in an inn”—an inn which signified the important gathering place for people in that time? Then for the Son of God to be born in a stable made for animals, a lowly place in that era, and to be placed in a manger, actually the King of the Universe was placed in the animal’s food trough. Such symbolism echoes that Jesus the Son of God came down from heaven to serve all of mankind and to be the food for our souls in the Eucharist.
Handling Anxiety and Stress When We Listen to the Holy Spirit
As we are listening and preparing, we might reflect on a question and thoughts from the Word For Today – How do we hear from God?
To hear from God you must desire it above all else, eliminate mental clutter, slow down and take time to understand what the Holy Spirit is saying to us, and believe that God will actually speak to you. This is not as easy as it sounds because of the pressures on our time. There seems to be always so much to get done this time of year—decorating the tree and the house, shopping and finding the right gift for all on the list, planning and cooking the cakes, candies and meals, doing the Christmas letter, entertaining guests, and continuing daily family responsibilities.
This can cause anxiety, stress and loss of patience with those we love most!
When we have stress, the surge of negative emotions can be overwhelming. But there is hope. A calm solution in the midst of such anxiety and stress.
The extent to which you consciously lean on God, drawing strength from Him, is the extent to which you will lower your anxiety level.
The truth is that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it. God comes along side us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.
Worrying about material things can choke the life out of you. Peace and happiness come from trusting God for what you need, knowing if something is right for you, He will provide it, and if it is not, He will give you something better.
Patience and How God Reaches Us
Patience is born of trust.
Paul writes, “Patience… has the power to endure whatever comes with good temper” (Colossians 3:12). God permits certain things to happen in our lives to teach us important principles. God is developing qualities in you that cannot be developed any other way. So do not let the devil rattle you or the circumstances put you into overdrive. “Be patient and trust the Lord.”
God delivered love to the world in the gift of His Son to the world.
We at the St. John Paul II Life Center are delivering love with compassion to all those frightened young abortion- vulnerable women who come seeking our help and recognition of their individual dignity.
We are providing the means to deliver love halfway around the world in providing a portable, state-of-the-art sonogram machine to help frightened young abortion-vulnerable women in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, and throughout that part of Africa, through the Mary and Joseph Life Center in cooperation with the work of the Shalom Centre for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation, founded by Father Patrick Devine.
Mary accepted to become the mother of Jesus when she said, “Let it be done to me according to your will.”
In the same way, each of us has a chance to serve Jesus and do His will.
Let us have the same courage as Mary to step out into the unknown with trust in God.
May you blossom wherever you are planted in the world. Let the glory of God shine through in your life.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
- In Life the Journey is Everything, by Pat and Tim Von Dohlen
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