Do you have room?

In case you haven't seen a calendar, looked at people's front yards, or watched enough of those ridiculous cars-with-huge-ribbons-on-them commercials (because most people we know regularly get a Lexus for Christmas) . . . Christmas is coming soon.

The Church celebrates Advent – a time of preparation – for the four weeks leading up to Christmas. I never really used to get into Advent; it seemed like an unnecessary reminder when we already have radio stations playing Christmas music, Christmas episodes of our favorite TV shows, and those red Starbucks cups to let us know that Jesus' birth is just around the corner.

Do You Believe in Santa?: The Real Story of St. Nicholas

Nicholas was known for his generosity. As tradition goes, he was so selfless that (although he, too, was poor) he helped his likewise poor neighbor support and pay for his daughters' weddings. Nicholas snuck up to his neighbor's house at night and dropped a handful of gold coins through the open window so that the eldest daughter could afford to get married. He would later repeat the generous act two more times. From there, the Santa legend grew into what we now know today – stockings, chimneys, a belly like jelly and all that good stuff.

That Awkward Silence: Sharing Your Faith With Your Family

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?

That Awkward Silence: Sharing Your Faith With Your Family

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?

We Three Kings: The Feast of the Epiphany

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.

Barbies and the Baby Jesus: A History of the Nativity Set

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…

Creative Gift Ideas for Christmas

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!

Advent: Waiting (for right NOW).

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?'