Advent Calendar of Christmas Blessings and Memories

ThirdEDITEDGift of Wonder . . . . . . . Rev. Alfred McBride, O. Praem.,THE PRIEST, Oct. ‘87, p.26

“Each year, God asks us to shed one more coat of awareness, one more dream state and come alive to the vision of God’s plan for each of us and the world-at-large.

“The older we get, the harder this is to do. As children we had a sense of wonder. Our eyes were wide open and drinking in the fascinating gifts we beheld…Our thirsty souls could not have enough of the wonders of creation.

“Then, somehow, we grew too old to dream. We tired of the abundance of the world, or at least grew weary of keeping up with the feast of life, and stepped away from the banquet of life.

“The natural gift of wonder God gave us as children was meant to be kept alive.…Instead we let wonder go to sleep. We entered the typical dream state of most humans.

“Why else does Jesus tell us today, ‘Stay awake!’…Advent says, ‘Wake up and realize the gifts of love you have received.’

“…Psychology says, ‘Let go.’ Spirituality says, ‘Wake up.’ In both cases there is a withdrawal from the busyness of daily life (our dream state) and a waking up to the subconscious and spiritual depths of ourselves.”

Advent Calendar of Christmas Blessings and Memories

ThirdEDITEDLet Me Not Keep Christmas . . . . . . . . Linda Felver
A Book of Christmas,
Nashville: Upper Rooms, 1988, p. 48

“Let me not wrap, stack, box, bag, tie, tag, bundle, seal, keep Christmas.

Christmas kept is liable to mold.

Let me give Christmas away, unwrapped, by exuberant armfuls. Let me share, dance, live Christmas unpretentiously, merrily, responsibly with overflowing hands, tireless steps and sparkling eyes.

Christmas given away will stay fresh—even until it comes again.”

Advent Calendar of Christmas Blessings and Memories

ThirdEDITEDChristmas Prayer  . . . . . . . . LIVING FAITH, Vol. 4, # 3

“Meister Eckhart once said: ‘What good is it that Christ was born 2,000 years ago if he is not born now in your heart?’

“Lord, we do far too much celebrating your actual coming in our hearts. I believe in God, but do I believe in God-in-me? I believe in God in heaven, but do I believe in God-on-earth? I believe in God out there, but do I believe in God-with-us?

“Lord, be born in my heart. Come alive in me this Christmas! Amen.”

Advent Calendar of Christmas Blessings and Memories

Advent Calendar of Christmas Blessings and Memories

ThirdEDITEDMy memories of Christmas are happy. I can remember my Great-Grandmother Annie coming to the house to teach my mother how to make Scotch shortbread and my Grandmother Gwen coming to teach her how to make Welsh Cookies. It always smelled so good around Christmas.  My brother and I were always in a state of anticipation; we could hardly wait until Christmas morning.

On Christmas Eve we would hang our stockings, put the milk and cookies out for Santa and climb into bed. What was surprising was that our Christmas Tree was nowhere in sight. That was the job of Santa Claus. Yet somehow, during those hours between our bedtime and when we got up in the morning, the tree went up and was decorated, the train and village was under the tree, and Santa had left all the gifts! When we entered the living room, it was magic!

Christine M.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Blessings and Memories

ThirdEDITEDTwice in the last few years we have had family members deployed over the holidays. It is a blessing to have everyone home safe this year. We pray for the people, military, contractors, and those working with peace corps or aid, who are way from the country because they believe in helping those less fortunate.

Jen J.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Blessings and Memories

Advent Calendar of Christmas Blessings and Memories

ThirdEDITEDWhile memories of spending Christmas with family and friends will always be cherished, I have to say that one memory sticks out from my college career. I believe it was my sophomore or junior year when all of my finals were back to back on the last two days of school. This time of year always seems to be hectic as people are making holiday plans, doing their Christmas shopping on top of their daily routines of work and extra curricular activities. I felt the rush of Christmas being upon me along with the added pressure of studying for all of my final exams.

While the details of how I arrived home from my last final are fuzzy to me, I remember sitting in my living room at home later that night with all the lights turned off. The glow of Christmas tree and television (It’s a Wonderful Life was on) kept me warm. I sat on the couch admiring the beauty of Christmas tree; it had white lights, with red and gold ornaments from top to bottom. My mother had used only the best and most beautiful ornaments with her themed tree. Finally, I breathed a sigh of relief that just for a few minutes that I didn’t have to worry about studying for any classes, working to earn money for gifts for others, or really anything. I was filled with such an inner peace that it felt like I could float away.  It was so relaxing and addicting.

In a way, isn’t this what the Advent season should be about; becoming addicted to inner peace? My favorite Christmas carol is Silent Night and the lyrics, “All is calm, all is bright” just mean Christmas to me. It may not be calm and bright forever, but it should remind us to slow down and enjoy the finer things in life whether it is a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, the gift of being with family and friends, or just life in general.  Blessings to you and your family this Christmas season!

Kim Z.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Blessings and Memories

Advent Calendar of Christmas Blessings and Memories

ThirdEDITEDWhen I was growing up in Meadville, PA I attended Christ Church Episcopal.  At Christmas time my family always participated in their Holiday Gift program, in which members of the congregation delivered packages and/or holiday meals on Christmas Eve.  One specific Christmas Eve has remained in my mind since I was a young teenager.

After the Children’s Service ended on Christmas Eve, we discovered that many needy families qualified to receive both gifts and food.  We selected a family’s address where we would be making our delivery.  When we arrived at the home, the parents answered the door.  We told them, “We are from Christ Church Episcopal.  We have this Holiday Meal for your family and these presents for your children.”  Looking quite surprised, the husband turned to his wife and said, “They must have found out about the fire.”  Then the wife broke down and said to us, “Thank you!  Thank you for putting the only presents under the tree that my children will receive this year.”

I remember feeling both proud and blessed after making that Christmas Eve delivery.  I was happy that my Church helped needy families for the Holidays.  And that Christmas Eve made me realize then and for years to come how grateful I am for my family, our health and for everything we have.

Lisa B.

This Sunday at Christ Church – 12/14/14

third_5431cSunday, December 14, 2014
The Third Sunday of Pentecost

Join us for the Third Sunday of Advent – and don’t forget about our Third Service at 11:45! It’s a brief service lasting only about 35 minutes and including all the readings and a brief sermon as well as contemporary music!

Also, if you haven’t taken a look at our Christmas at Christ Church page yet, please do. There are some important changes to the Christmas Eve worship times this year. The Family Festival Eucharist takes place at 5:00 p.m., but the Choral Festival Eucharist will be at 10:00 p.m. with the Choral Prelude at 9:30. Please make note of this change!

Our schedule this Sunday:

8:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist Rite I
9:00 a.m. – Coffee & Fellowship
9:00 a.m. – Choir Rehearsal
9:10 a.m. – Adult Forum – The Thrill of Hope: Meditations on Advent and Christmas
9:30 a.m. – Youth Choir Rehearsal
10:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist Rite II
10:00 a.m. – Sunday School – The Polar Express Special Presentation
11:15 a.m. – Coffee & Fellowship
11:15 a.m. – Pageant Rehearsal
11:45 a.m. – The Third Service
6:30 p.m. – Choral Evensong

Advent Calendar of Christmas Blessings and Memories

Advent Calendar of Christmas Blessings and Memories

SecondEditedOn a tour of duty in Vietnam and American soldier wandered through a village. It was Christmas and he whistled a Christmas carol as he strolled down a street. He was moved by the scores of children he saw. Dirty and hungry, many of the little ones in this war-torn country had little to rejoice over.

One tiny little girl shyly smiled as the soldier walked by. Her dress was ragged, her feet were bare, and her enormous brown eyes showed more sorrow and hardship than most adults have seen. He stopped and knelt in front of the little girl. He pulled a stick of chewing gum out of his pocket and held it out to her.

Her eyes welled up with tears and she turned away. Worried he had frightened or offended her in some way, he started to put the gum back in his pocket.  But the little girl reached out and took it from his hand. She pointed to her eyes and spoke to him in broken English, “Happy tears, Mr. American, happy tears.”

Anonymous

from Everything I Need to Know About Christmas I Learned from Jesus; 1998 David C. Cook Publishing Company

Advent Calendar of Christmas Blessings and Memories

Advent Calendar of Christmas Blessings and Memories

SecondEditedOne Christmas years ago, some townspeople wanted to share God’s love in a practical way. They planted a vegetable garden beside the railroad tracks in a deserted area outside of town. The townspeople hoed, planted and watered the garden until it produced a great harvest. They laid down their tools in the garden and went about their business, content to let nature take its course.

Over the next year, they planted nothing else and never picked a vegetable. But the garden grew and grew and grew, yet vegetables seldom rotted in the garden. Weeds were scarce, and the garden always seemed to have that “specially tended to” look.

Was it a miracle? Perhaps. An untold number of homeless hobos riding the railroad- perhaps dozens, perhaps hundreds- helped themselves to the crop and often spent many hours looking after the garden. For them, Christmas happened year-round, when they could always count on the blessings of good food- especially tasty as the fruit of their hard labors.

Anonymous

from Everything I Need to Know About Christmas I Learned from Jesus; 1998 David C. Cook Publishing Company