4th Sunday of Advent

My Advent Wreath

My Advent Wreath

I’m near the end of the 4th Sunday of Advent.  There are just a couple days of work in the office before Christmas Eve — the anticipation of being released from work early.  After Mass this morning and OCIA, we wished each other a Merry Christmas and a “see you at Midnight Mass.” 
My shopping is done.  I have done well this year by keeping things to a minimum and not charging on credit.  Earlier this week, I had a couple fraudulant transactions come across my check debit card.  All is well but it reaffirmed my need to live a more cash based existence in 2009.  Today, I finished my shopping with cash.  It is amazing how using cash becomes a check and balance to your shopping list.  I was much less likely to  edit my list.  I firmly believe there is more peace to be had by eliminating the excesses from our lives.  Excesses can come in many forms:  spending above means, overeating, drinking, television, video games, work.  Excessive amounts of time away from family — from church — from prayer.   Amassing excessive amounts of material things are poor substitutes for spiritual vacancy.  Earthly material things are never enough — only the love of God and Jesus is enough.
It breaks my heart to see the commercialization of the Christmas season.  Christmas was never suppose to be about retail — and yet their annual profits have come to depend upon the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve procrastinators.  This literally wipes out all the time we should be focused on the real wonder of the season — the reality that God loved us enough to become one of us through the incarnation of His only son.  If I never receive another Christmas gift from family or a friend, the gift of Jesus is enough.  Many people are hurting this Christmas.  Many are without jobs — Many homes have been broken by divorce — Many families have lost loved ones this year.  I said a prayer for whoever felt they had to steal my account number.  Jesus is enough to cover a multitude of hurts and pains of the last year.
As we go into these last couple of days of Advent, pause to think about what we really have to celebrate on Christmas Day.  God became man — He understands.   There is a way — a truer and better way — maybe not the popular way — but the better way.  Think about 2009 and what needs to be better in your life — there is a better way. 
Peace & All Good
Merry Christmas
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