Pastor's Message

First Sunday of Advent, 27-28 Nov 2021

HS
JMJ

Dear Fellow Saints-in-the-Making,

Greetings in Christ the Lord, Whom we are waiting to be born, to come, and to return!

This Sunday, we begin the sacred Season of Advent as we prepare our heart and soul to welcome with joy the birth of Our Savior and King.

There are many ways we can do this. The first is by honoring this holy season of anticipation and sacred expectation with the traditional devotionals, including the Advent Wreath and the Jesse Tree.

Place a wreath in a central place in your home. Adorn it with three violet bows and one rose bow. Include four candles (battery-operated candles work well, too). As a family, couple or on your own, light the appropriate Advent candle(s) each Sunday and read the Gospel for that day aloud. Talk about the Gospel or meditate on it and ask Our Lord to brighten your heart and soul as you prepare for the Gift He is.

The Jesse Tree features ornaments based on scenes from Sacred Scripture that tell the story of our salvation from the Fall of Adam and Eve to the Nativity of Jesus Christ, the New Adam.  Each day, a different ornament is hung on the tree and the Scripture passage read. This is a spiritually rich way to involve children in learning about their faith. They also get to color in the ornaments and hang them on the tree each day. Go to https://www.faithward.org/jesse-tree/printable-jesse-tree-ornaments/ or type “Jesse Tree” in your search engine. The ornaments may be printed out on card stock or regular paper.

A new devotional has been inspired by one of Santa’s helpers. The Elf on the Shelf has charmed children for the past 16 years and mystifies them as he magically moves from place to place in the house day in and day out, reporting to St. Nick how good the child he is watching over has been that day. A new devotion brings Our Lord front and center. Instead of an elf moving from shelf to shelf, take the figures of St. Joseph and Mary and the donkey from your Nativity set and place them at one end of the room where your Christmas tree is or in another room altogether. Each day of Advent, gather around the figurines, pray a Hail Mary or ask St. Joseph and Mary to intercede for you and your family this Advent for a particular petition of your choosing. Then move the figurines one spot closer to the tree. This daily movement is in imitation of the long journey that St. Joseph and Mary take from Nazareth to Bethlehem, where Jesus will be born. By Christmas Eve, St. Joseph, Mary and the donkey have reached the stable and themselves await the Birth of the Lord. On Christmas Eve, gather your family around the Nativity Scene and read from St. Luke or St. Matthew the account of Christ’s Nativity.

However you choose to celebrate Advent, I invite you to be intentional about growing in enthusiastic anticipation for Jesus’ Birth, as opposed to getting distracted by everything that seems to have to get done in a short month’s time.  

Also, today is the first day of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights that our Jewish sisters and brothers celebrate for 8 days. It is, by their own description, a minor holiday. Nevertheless, we share in the understanding, each in our own way, that the Light of God protects and strengthens us from all darkness. The fullness of that Light is Jesus Christ Himself. Please keep our Jewish brethren in your prayers during this time of family, friends, and celebration.

Waiting with you in expectation for our Lord.

God love you! I do!

Fr. Lewis