Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advent: Second Wednesday of Advent -- 12/7/11

Second Wednesday of Advent (Isaiah 25:6-26:6)

Yesterday, we read of the final judgment of God on the actions of men; today, in the reading for the second Wednesday of Advent, we hear the promise of Christ's reign over all the nations. The earth will be remade; death shall be destroyed; and men shall live in peace. The humble and the poor will be exalted, but the haughty will be humbled.

I think that tonight's Advent message is summed up in the words in red above.  We have been reminded so many times that Jesus did not enter the world as the Prince that He indeed was.  He was born of a young girl from a simple background. Mary was a young girl who said, "Yes."

A couple of thoughts -- in Isaiah's words above, he writes that the Lord is going to remake the earth.  Think about how Mary's life was 'remade' as soon as she was visited by the Angel Gabriel.  Isaiah writes that the humble will be exalted -- reminding you of our definition of humility -- putting the needs of another before your own needs, Mary certainly fit the description of humility and a person who was humble.  And, she is exalted - we do lift her name in prayer as we beseech her to pray on our behalf.

Can you think of three people more humble and poor than Jesus, Mary and Joseph in that stable on the night that Jesus was born?  I can't. 

One final thought about humility -- I was trying to make a point about humility this morning to one of my children.  I was explaining that given a certain situation, a particular child was conducting him/herself in a very humble manner and that part of humility is doing the act WITHOUT the expectation of recognition or reward.  The reward is the knowledge that one had done something for another without seeking recognition or payment.  THAT is a big part of humility and a facet of it that the kids and I need to explore further.  I had taken it for granted -- they were totally unaware of it.  Lots of work to do there.

Also -- Thursday, December 8, 2011 -- the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. 

Second Tuesday of Advent -- 12/6/2011

Second Tuesday of Advent (Isaiah 24:19-25:5)

Isaiah prophesied not only about the coming of Christ as a child in Bethlehem, but about the final reign of Christ as King over all the earth. In this selection for the second Tuesday of Advent, Isaiah tells us of the final judgment.

If you live in northern Virginia, do you remember where you were and what you were doing when we felt the earthquake this past summer?  Before you knew what it was, do you remember how you felt and what immediately ran through your mind?

When I opened Isaiah 24 and began to read v20, I thought back to this summer and the earthquake:  'The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind.'  Isaiah is writing about the final judgment.  As I stood ready to leave Wegman's and the building began to shake, I made the Sign of the Cross and pleaded to the Lord for whatever it was to stop.  I would have to say that for however many seconds the quake lasted, my heart was empty of everything except 'Lord have mercy.'

 Isaiah goes on to write that we are to praise the Lord and exalt Him in perfect faithfulness.  Is anyone of us able to praise and exalt the Lord without humbling ourselves before Him?  Can we praise and exalt the Lord without humbling ourselves before others?  Can we be obedient without first practicing humility.......true humility? 

I'm asking these questions because I would be remiss in my parenting if I did not take time and make you aware of the importance of humility.  Sunday night you told your dad and I that humility was putting the needs of another ahead of your own needs.  That is an excellent definition of humility.  We asked you who was the epitome of humility and why and you answered Jesus because he died for our sins and put our needs ahead of his own desires. 

So tonight, let's talk abut Mary, the Mother of G-d.  Her feast day, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, is the day after tomorrow, and, really, how in the world could we talk about preparing for the birth of Christ and not talk about Mary.   I mean, really?  Let me ask you:  do you think that Mary showed humility?  But, before you answer, let me tell you some things about her.

As a young Jewish girl, Mary was considered marriageable at the age of twelve years and six months.  Remember that people had a much shorter life span 2000 years ago so at twelve and a half years old, one was of marriageable age.

 Luke 1:26-38,  The Evangelist tells us that in the sixth month after the conception of St. John the Baptist by Elizabeth, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to the Virgin Mary, at Nazareth, a small town in the mountains of Galilee. Mary was of the house of David, and was espoused (i.e. married) to Joseph, of the same royal family. She had, however, not yet entered the household of her spouse, but was still in her mother's house, working, perhaps, over her dowry. (Bardenhewer, Maria Verk., 69). And the angel having taken the figure and the form of man, came into the house and said to her: "Hail, full of grace (to whom is given grace, favoured one), the Lord is with thee." Mary having heard the greeting words did not speak; she was troubled in spirit, since she knew not the angel, nor the cause of his coming, nor the meaning of the salutation. And the angel continued and said: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end." The Virgin understood that there was question of the coming Redeemer. But, why should she be elected from amongst women for the splendid dignity of being the mother of the Messiah.  Therefore, not doubting the word of God like Zachary, but filled with fear and astonishment, she said: "How shall this be done, because I know not man?"

This twelve and a half year old girl knew and had studied and prayed and she understood that the world was awaiting the Messiah, BUT as she is kneeling and praying on this day, the Angel Gabriel has told her that she is going to be the mother of the Messiah.  She, who has not engaged in any behavior that would cause her to become pregnant, is going to give birth! 

The angel to remove Mary's anxiety and to assure her that her virginity would be spared, answered: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." In token of the truth of his word he made known to her the conception of St. John, the miraculous pregnancy of her relative now old and sterile: "And behold, thy cousin Elizabeth; she also has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: because no word shall be impossible with God." Mary may not yet have fully understood the meaning of the heavenly message and how the maternity might be reconciled with her vow of virginity, but clinging to the first words of the angel and trusting to the Omnipotence of God she said: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word."

Let me have you read these words here yourself and pay attention to the part that is underlined.  Do you see that part?  THAT is humility.  Essentially, this is what Mary said:  'I have no idea how the Lord is going to do this.  I do understand that I have been chosen by Him.  So be it.  I am the Lord's servant -- His needs come before whatever I think mine are.'

That is humility (did I say that already?).  

So, let's think about this in relation to our own lives.  When you are asked to do something, do you respond 'yes,' 'no,' or 'wait awhile?'  If you are asked to do something that is inconvenient for you at that moment (you are at a crucial point in a video game or television show or movie), OR maybe you aren't even doing anything at all but you HATE doing what you've been asked to do, whose needs influence your response?

If your mom asks you to set the table or empty the dishwasher or take the dog out, does your answer depend on whether or not you actually feel like doing it or if you want to do it?

Are you beginning to get a more clear idea of what humility is and how it is so closely tied to obedience? 

Do you know that in order for us to be pleasing in the sight of the Lord, we must practice humility?

Please think of some ways that your behavior and attitude have to change in order for you to be pleasing in the sight of the Lord.  What needs to be swept out of your stable so that humility and obedience can move in?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Second Monday of Advent

Second Monday of Advent (Isaiah 24:1-18)

True repentance means conforming ourselves to the way of the Lord. In this reading for the second Monday of Advent from the Prophet Isaiah, we see the Lord overturning all of human society, because of the sins and transgressions of the people. To be pleasing in the eyes of the Lord, we must humble ourselves.

Yesterday you heard alot about humility.  Again today, there is that word and we are again reminded of the fact that in order to be pleasing in the eyes of the Lord, we must humble ourselves.

Humility is a difficult concept to, hmmmm,  wrap our brains around and to wrap our hearts around.  Here's why:  it takes great humility to understand humility.  Try to wrap your brain around that one.  Did you love CHRONICLES OF NARNIA?  Here is what the author writes about humility:  Christian humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less, as C. S. Lewis so memorably said. It is to be no longer always noticing yourself and how you are doing and how you are being treated.  And, why does it take great humility to understand humility? Well, because if you take a look at what is written in red, we are not inclined to think of ourselves less, we are inclined to notice ourselves, to be aware of how we are doing and we are certainly aware of how we are treated.  That's just human nature.  But, we are called to be pleasing in the eyes of the Lord, and obviously this 'humility-thing' is not going to be easy in today's world.

Well, of course it isn't going to be......we cannot do it on our own.  We can only do it with the power of the Lord.  Where do we start?  Prayer is a good place.  In your prayers, ask the Lord to open your eyes and your heart so that you may be humbled.  I've changed the words in red above and this may help you (the words are in blue now):  it is thinking of others MORE; It is to be noticing others more, noticing how they are doing more, and how they are being treated. 

I'm going to ask you again to look around (and because you are children your 'world' is rather limited as to the people at whom you will be looking) and look at someone near you or around you who might need a hand, or an encouraging word, or perhaps you have a pretty awful relationship with someone that could be fixed.  Taking the first step in repairing that relationship is a step in the direction of humility -- when you put someone else first.

If we think of humility, how much of a contrast or difference is the idea of making a list of what you want for Christmas and handing that list to your parents?  Think about it.

This week we are blessed to be able to talk about two wonderful examples of individuals who exemplified humility:  St. Nicholas (no, not Santa Claus), and Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

Mary's response to the Angel Gabriel which is told to us in the book of Luke is one example of  humility:  'Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.'  Luke 1:38.  Mary was a young girl with no idea of how the news that the Angle brought her was going to happen.  But, instead of questioning or thinking of a thousand reasons why she could not be obedient, her response was simply that whatever It was, she would be the Lord's willing servant.

Can you think of an example of the most perfect act of humility ever?

Maybe you can find a library book or do a google search and get some background info on St. Nicholas.  His Feast Day is Wednesday, December 6th and it is great fun to celebrate.

The word going round and round in your head and your heart and in your prayers should be humility.  With your stable getting cleaned and ready for the Savior, the first thing you will want to have there is humility.  If you have difficulty getting an image of humility, think of the Baby Jesus in a manger in a stable with Mary and Joseph.  The Baby Jesus depended on Mary and Joseph for everything - the same way that you did as an infant, and the same way that you truly still do now. 

Second Sunday of Advent

Second Sunday of Advent (Isaiah 22:8b-23)

As we enter the second week of Advent, we continue reading from the book of the Prophet Isaiah. In today's selection, the Lord calls on the inhabitants of Jerusalem—those who have been saved—to mourn for their past sins, yet they continue to celebrate. They aren't thankful to God for saving them, and thus the Lord vows to humble them.

The word 'Advent' may come from the Latin adventus meaning 'coming,' but this past week, it has put me into 'search' mode.  Feeling called to light the candles on the Advent wreath every night of Advent and having a meaningful albeit brief message to accompany the candle lighting has challenged me to turn down Springsteen's rendition of 'Santa Claus is Coming To Town' and look closely at how best to spiritually prepare my family and me to celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus.

I've read today's Scripture verse more times than I can count - and i have read and prayed that the Lord would give me the words to share with my family.  I am beginning to wonder why some people think there isn't enough time to get ready for Christmas.......really.  I have decided that maybe there isn't enough time to buy gifts, decorate trees, send out cards, attend parties, throw parties, wrap gifts, bake cookies, etc., but the Lord in His infinite wisdom has certainly given us the time to prepare to celebrate the birth of His son. 

Tonight is the eighth night that our family is going to light the candle(s) on our Advent wreath, and listen to a lesson linked to the OT Scripture and our life today.  I don't know about you, but I think that after doing that for 28 days (even if you pass on Sundays or Saturday evenings after attending Mass), there should be at least something beginning to take hold in one's heart that provides a new perspective to the season........as in 'Jesus is the reason' for it.

Soooooooooooooooooooooooooo, going back to Isaiah's verses for today, the issue here is humility.  I can work with that.  Listen up!  The prophet says in v 11:  ...'you did not look to the One who made it.......or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.  The Lord, the Lord Almighty, called you on that day to weep and to wail, to tear out your hair and put on sackcloth.  But, see, there is joy and revelry.'

If we agree that Jesus is the reason for the season, then we must acknowledge that the reason for Jesus is our sin.  'For G-d so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son...'  And, if we agree that the reason for Jesus is our sin, then can we also agree that we should be looking to the One who planned all this long ago?  And, if we look to the Lord and His plan to send His only begotten Son to die for our sins, shouldn't we feel humbled?  Shouldn't humility find a place in our 'stable?'  [I know -- but it's such a great image........you didn't think I wasn't going to continue using it, did you?]

Do you find it thought-provoking that the world (which I have already determined does not have room for Jesus) doesn't have room for the reason for the season?  The Lord sent His Son into the world to die for our sins.  Jesus came into the world as G-d-made man......he was born of a virgin. 

Think back to First Grade and one of the very first things you learned if you went to Catholic School:  'Who is G-d?'  'G-d is the Supreme Being, infinitely perfect, who made all things and keeps them in existence.'  Supreme Being?  Jesus came into this world as an infant.  Born to a woman who (and I will go into this more as we get closer to 12/8) was the epitome of humility.  And, if I think about the Supreme Being, well, I am hard-pressed to think of anything more humble, more the other end of the spectrum than an infant.  A totally dependent being who is totally reliant on the love and care of another.  In that stable, Jesus and Mary bring humility.  And Joseph?  Yes, of course.  Joseph and Mary:  humility and obedience.

I would have to say here that if one's stable is swept clean and one is preparing for the Lord to move in, well, humility and obedience would certainly go a long way in making your heart a fine place to welcome the Lord.

Humility?  Serve others.  What?  You're only 8 or 9 or 10 years old?  Who can you serve?  Ahem........look around.  Why do kids consider responsibilities at home not 'humility in action' but rather consider it as 'chores' or 'work?'  Listen to me -- your mom and dad are tired.  You know how you feel when you get into bed at night and you know that in a minute or two you will be asleep because you are tired.  Well, multiply the way you feel by about 4,584,000 and you might be close to how tired your parents are. 

Can you open your heart, clear out some junk, and make room for humility?  Just humility?  Humility's constant companion obedience will show up with him, and it will be easy for you to let both of them into your heart.  I'm asking you to do one thing, just one thing that you think you are too good to do, or you don't want to do.  Just one thing.

Let this roll around in your head as well:  the time before our celebration of the Christ Child's birth has become (if we look at the world around us) one great, big celebration.  The world has taken the time of preparation that the Lord purposely placed in our liturgical season, and turned the entire four weeks into one huge party.  The world is doing what it can not only to totally obscure the reason for the season, but it is trying to cover all of its bases by making the event that we are to be preparing  spiritually for, well, the world is doing its best to make the birth of the Christ Child anti-climactic.  After the things of the world are 'over':  the presents, the wrapping paper, the parties, and the shopping, well,the world makes the actual event, the birth of Our Savior, more of an after-thought than what it truly is:  the fulfillment of G-d's promise to us that He would never leave us or forsake us.

My challenge to you is to do one act that causes you to practice humility OR to humble yourself.

Be ready to tell me tomorrow what it is.

Saturday, The Seventh Day of Advent, 2011

Today's Scripture Reading is

First Saturday of Advent (Isaiah 21:6-12)

Isaiah's prophecy foretells the coming of Christ, and of His triumph over sin. In the reading for the first Saturday of Advent, Babylon, the symbol of sin and idolatry, has fallen. Like the watchman, in this Advent we wait for the triumph of the Lord.

Below is a re-post of an entry from 1/29/2011.  It has been speaking to my heart lately because my daughter and her husband lost their baby boy 13 months ago.  Robbie's funeral was Saturday, December 18, 2010.  It was one week before Christmas, our family traveled to East Hanover, NJ to Gate of Heaven cemetary where my dad is buried.  This was such a sad sad time for our family -- beginning with Stacey's heartbreaking phone call on 11/14 telling me that they had lost their baby, everything that followed, and then months later, having Stacey and her husband and their two little girls experience the same heartbreak all over again when late in her pregnancy a second baby boy was lost.
As I share about Advent this year, I find myself thanking the Lord a multitude of times each day for the fact that the sadness that enveloped our family last year, feels as if it has lifted.  Last year, I went through all the motions, and I thought I did everything that I was supposed to do for the holiday season.  Granted, we did ALL of our Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve, but there are folks who do that normally anyway, right? 
I told myself that as long as everything was accomplished, well, that meant I felt fine and we were all okay.  Boy, was I ever wrong!  While I did indeed go through the motions, I can stand here one year later and state that I was so 'absent' from the Holiday Spirit that it now astounds me. 
Sadness is indeed an emotion, but grief is a process.  The grieving process has no timetable, no benchmarks that one can try to reach by a certain date...it is unique to each individual and a journey like no other.
I remarked to my husband that this year I have very specific, definite activities/events that have been placed on my 'must' list.  Mariano, the kids and I have prepared homemade vanilla extract to give as gifts.  We have sterilized the bottles, I've had labels printed, and a ton (well, maybe not really a ton) of Madagascar Vanilla Beans have been sitting in very expensive Imperia Vodka since October making what we hope will be amazing pure vanilla extract that will be ready to use by 2/2012.  I am pretty sure that this time last year I couldn't even spell 'vanilla' I was so preoccupied -- and, as for the vodka, well it would have made ALOT of screwdrivers.
I'm knitting a blanket for my grand daughter, I've purchased gifts, the tree is almost up, we have fun things planned as a family and things planned for just me and the kids, I have a definite plan for decorating outside (all in blue in loving memory of Jack Donaldson who was just one of the most amazing children anyone could have known -- pls visit his mom's blog:  www.aninchofgray.blogspot.com), and tons of other things.  I think it has taken me this long to get here to this point where I say that not only am I doing these things, I am doing them and I feel joy in my heart.  THAT is my Christmas gift this year -- this joy placed by the Lord in my heart. 

Below is what I wrote 11 months ago here.  Tomorrow, I will get back to the Advent devotions -- but, the post below came to my mind tonight sitting at Mass and thinking about Mary and how she must have felt when her son was crucified, and with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception coming this week, I thought I would share my thoughts from earlier this year.

My daughter shared this quote with me from C.S. Lewis when this past November, she and her husband lost their baby boy late in her pregnancy: “I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process. It needs not a map but a history…there is something new to be chronicled every day. Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape…not every bend does. Sometimes the surprise is the opposite one; you are presented with exactly the same sort of country you thought you had left behind miles ago. That is when you wonder whether the valley isn’t a circular trench. But it isn’t. There are partial recurrences, but the sequence doesn’t repeat.
My daughter, my sister and I noticed when we were at the cemetary at my grandson Robbie's funeral that the gravesite next to my dad and Robbie's was totally decorated for Christmas (Robbie's funeral was a week before Christmas). We were looking at the teddy bears and ornaments and we noticed the date on the gravestone -- the little girl, her name was Gabriella, had died when she was 11 months old in 1960. The three of us were silent and then my sister commented to my daughter that it's obvious that families do not 'get over' the death of their children......here we were 50 years later and family members were making sure that Gabriella's grave was decorated for Christmas. As we walked around the children's section of this very large cemetary (my dad's gravesite is at the edge of the 'baby' section) most if not all of the gravesites were decorated with tiny Christmas trees or teddy bears, or toys. We looked at dates on gravestones and continued to notice and comment that 20, 30, 40, 50+ years later, so many children are remembered with love.

Friday, December 2, 2011

ADVENT Day SIX (Friday, 12/2): Quick Thoughts for Families

First Friday of Advent (Isaiah 19:16-25)

The Prophet Isaiah continues with his theme of the conversion of nations in the reading for the first Friday of Advent. With the coming of Christ, salvation is no longer confined to Israel. Egypt, whose enslavement of the Israelites represented the darkness of sin, will be converted, as will Assyria. Christ's love encompasses all nations, and all are welcome in the New Testament Israel, the Church.
I'm going to talk to the kids tonight about the phrase 'once a year Catholics' and ask them if they ever heard of it or if they can take a guess as to what it means.  I think that Catholics get a bum rap as the denomination named in that phrase......it could easily be 'once a year Christians' (and maybe in some denominations it is), but..............I am going to use it as a jumping off point for tonight's message.
Let me begin by stating that Isaiah is not an easy place to find a message that can be made relevant to an almost 13 year old and two 11 year olds.  That being said, after our Scripture reading, I went back and placed particular emphasis on Isaiah 19:20.......'...he will send them a savior and a defender and he will rescue them.' And, isaiah 19:22.......'They will turn to the Lord.  He will respond to their pleas and heal them.'
The message to the kids then goes like this:
So, we've talked about that phrase 'once a year Catholic' or 'once a year Christian.'  And, traditionally it probably explained an individual who showed up at Church, duh, once a year.  When I was a kid, even people who NEVER went to Church, went on Palm Sunday.  I clearly remember that.  Our family ALWAYS attended Mass on Sunday.....but we had friends and neighbors who were Roman Catholic; however, they did not attend every Sunday or for that matter more than once or twice a year.  It was always intriguing to me as an 11 or 12 year old that there were kids on our block who never went to Mass, but they never missed Mass on Palm Sunday.  They would ring our doorbell with literally armloads of Palms, and ask how much we had gotten, and then point out that they had more. 
IF we, meaning those of us right here in this living room, are 'once a year' Catholics or Christians, how would we likely respond to someone who thought that Palm Sunday was 'only' for grabbing as many Palm fronds as you could?  How would we likely respond to someone who thought that Christmas was about Santa, writing up a really long list of 'I wants', and amassing a pile of stuff?  Hmmmmm?
Let's go back to something I said on the first night of Advent; I said that one year from now (meaning the first night of Advent 2012) I wanted our family to sit and light the first candle, and not have had it be 11 months since we had gathered as a family to pray and seek the Lord.  Can change, big or small, occur in our hearts if we shut the Lord out 11 months of the year or 364 days of the year?  Think about the stable in which Jesus was born.  Remember how we said it was swept clean and ready for the precious baby.  Our hearts should be the same way.  What if Mary and Joseph, having been turned away at the Inn but told there was a stable they night use, showed up, and the stable was a filthy mess?  What if Joseph starts trying to make at least a small clean place for Mary?  Think about it.  What is it like when there is a massive amount of dust and debris and you want to clear it out all at once?  Do you end up choking on the micro-particles that float up from the ground or floor as you sweep?  Do those tiny pieces of this and that make it difficult for you to see?  Maybe you try to wave or fan the cloud out of your face or nose.  Perhaps you cough or try to turn in the other direction only to find yourself surrounded by the very stuff you are trying to clear out of the place.  'Ugh,' you say.  'This is useless.  I can't do this.'  And you walk away.
Stay with me:  if we are taking these four weeks before the celebration of the birth of
Our Savior as a time to prepare of place for Him in our lives, perhaps we need a plan.  Well, okay then.  The first part of our plan is to sit here with our family and hope that someone says something that actually has meaning in our lives.  This stable idea that your father brought up on Sunday night is obviously a really good image because I clearly keep bringing it up......don't I?
So, if our heart is the stable and it has to be cleaned, we are bright enough to be able to tell from the story above that if we try to do it in one shot, with one quick sweep of the broom, we are only going to get choked with the stuff that we are really trying to get rid of, so that is not the way to proceed.
Let's go back to Isaiah -- where he says: ' when they cry out to the Lord, he will send them a Savior and a defender and he will rescue them.'  Sounds like if you are standing there being choked by the junk in your stable, it's time to cry out to the Lord.  How?  Well, you can actually cry out to Him.....and folks certainly do.....and I certainly have.  Or, you can speak quietly to Him in prayer, and you can listen for Him to speak to you in prayer. 
You can speak quietly very simply with three little words:  'Lord have mercy.'  THAT,  you can practically do all day long.  Ask me how I know. 
You see, G-d isn't Merry Maids or Sunshine Cleaning or ServiceMaster.  He isn't in a hurry, he isn't on the clock, he isn't rushing off to take care of someone else.  He does want to be invited in, and then He wants to stay.  He isn't in a rush.  He doesn't want to be invisible in your cloud of dirt that you are trying to sweep under the rug -- don't even waste your time.  He knows all about your stuff.....and your rug and what is under it.  He's there to help you roll up the rug, get every speck of stuff and dirt out of there, and move into every single inch of your heart.  And, not just for one day.  Because once you let Him do the job His way, you won't want anything coming along and messing things up.
When you call out to Him, he will show up, respond, rescue and heal you.  Why wouldn't you want that every single day of the year?   He sent His son to be born in a manger in a stable so that you could be rescued.  THAT is the reason for the season.
It's kind of ironic, isn't it, that commercials and advertisements talk about the 'Holiday Rush?'  Well,
G-d isn't in a rush.  The media bombards us at Christmas with a constant message of hustle and bustle, dashing here and there, and so little time to do the things we 'have' to do.
THIS is what we HAVE to do this Advent season:  take each and every day of Advent to prepare our hearts to welcome Our Savior.  We have little more than three weeks from right now to do that.  Let's pray and welcome the Lord in our hearts to take inventory and speak to us about where we should begin.
To my children and my husband:  I Love You!