The reality is that if you live out your faith there will probably be some conflict and moments of very awkward silence. Like that moment when your aunt tells you all the things 'wrong' with your Church . . . or your condescending cousin drills you on Catholic Church teaching and asks why you so 'mindlessly' follow it? Or when your Mom pulls you aside in the kitchen before family dinner and encourages you to avoid talking about certain topics like abortion or politics?
If we're focused on what we can get out of God and not what we can give to Him, then our worship is selfish. Christ is faithful, but when we expect something in return we put Him in a box. Shifting our focus on what we can give Him frees us to receive His love the way He wants to give it.
The Magi did exactly that, and to Christ the true present was their presence.
We have four Nativity sets in my house: not out of overindulgence but out of sheer necessity. One set is for my five year old, who likes to take a more 'interactive' approach to the Nativity, including putting Disney princesses and Barbies into the Biblical narrative. Last year when I asked why the baby Jesus was in Barbie's convertible, she responded, 'Barbie is baby-sitting, Daddy… the trip to Bethlehem left Mary and Joseph very tired.'
You may have a Nativity set beneath your Christmas tree or on a table inside your house. You almost certainly have one on display somewhere around your local Church…
One of the biggest stresses of the Christmas season is gift giving. It can be difficult to find the right gift for a person. Or the stores you shop in are incredibly busy or your wallet isn’t keeping up with your heart (especially for students and others on tight budgets). Gift-giving should be joyful though!
To help you out we have a list of a few meaningful, inexpensive and homemade presents you can give to your friends and family. You can easily put your own spin on each of these ideas. Some of them might take longer to make than others but it's still a great way to show someone how much you appreciate the gift of their life!
It's a good thing I go to Mass, because that seems to be where God always tells me what blog about. And the question that's weighed on my heart so far this week is this: 'Am I eagerly awaiting Christ?'