Monday, December 21, 2009

Fall Asleep Counting Your Blessings

This Advent has been much different from those in years past. For one thing, we’ve usually gotten together as a family by now and decorated our Douglas fir Christmas tree. We’ve also usually gotten together to bake and decorate Christmas cookies, which we also haven’t done yet this year.
In previous years, I would have already spent hours writing Christmas cards, making or buying presents, and going to various local Christmas concerts and shows, parties, etc. Many things have been different this Advent, and maybe that’s a good thing. Kevin and I haven’t done nearly as much hustling and bustling as we usually do. Only a few of our planned activities we missed due to illness or because of snow.
We’ve spent more evenings at home together, and it’s been really nice. We do the daily readings, and share the reflections, answer the questions from a few different Advent devotionals, maybe pray the Rosary. We’ve felt God has been answering our prayers that He would draw Kevin and I closer to Him and close to each other.
I’ve made a conscious effort to spend more time in prayer, in part, because I heard not one but two priests strongly suggest that everyone would be much happier if we spent the Advent season preparing our minds and hearts for Christ’s coming, then celebrate Christmas during the days on the liturgical calendar set aside for that joyful occasion which is from Christmas Eve to January 10 this year.
I guess the true test will come over the next week, when the temptation will be greater to rush around to find gifts and do our usual family traditions. I’m not too worried right now, though. I feel in many ways that Kevin and I have already given the most important Christmas gifts we could have. We’ve spent more time with God and with each other. We’ve used what we have been given to help others in need. We can see more of our blessings, past and present, and be grateful for them.
The following lyrics from the "White Christmas" movie seem to sum up part of what has made this season more peaceful for us:
“When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings”

Lord, help all of us to count the presence of Your Son in the world as the greatest present ever given. Open our hearts and minds to the love inherent in You sending Jesus into the world as a vulnerable, helpless baby. Teach us to center on You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who are the source of all love, joy, peace, and hope. Amen.
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