We are all aware about how fast Christmas seems to be approaching. There is the undertow of gifts to buy, gifts to wrap, cards to write, and houses to decorate in preparation for the Christmas season. 

So, how do we keep our focus on the Incarnation of our Lord amidst the swirling demands of this season? It is easy to lose focus of the true meaning of Advent and Christmas seasons. The following excerpt from the writings of Odo Casel, a Benedictine monk and liturgist, provides an understanding of what Christmas isn’t and what it is.  Odo Casel creates for us a word icon and an awesome sense of the grandeur of the Creator, who, because He loves us, came to dwell with us.

“Christmas is not the celebration of the nobility of human nature, nor is it the indulgence in childhood memories and tender human affection, nor is it even a festival of the Child Jesus, smiling at us from the lap of his sweet mother, telling us of the love of God. It is much more that all of that, it is the living and overwhelming presence of God among the people. The eternal majesty of the eternal Godhead before whom every creature in its nothingness breathes in awe, that divine majesty whom no human eye has ever seen or can see, who is separated from mankind by an infinite eternity, and yet to whom the creature is drawn by every thread of spiritual desire—that majesty has come among us, has permitted us to gaze upon his countenance and to recognize in the face of the Lord and King the features of the Father.”

As we live into the days of preparation for these beloved seasons, may Ode Casel’s remain with us, reminding us of the mystery of God who, because He loves us, sent his son to dwell among us, revealing the face of God to us, and then dying for us.

And listen again to the prayer that Abby Schueler read at our Annual Meeting.

Dear Lord,
Let me be more patient.

Let me pause for a while whenever I am unappreciative of Your love and all the blessings that You have given me.  During those times where I am not grateful, where I feel entitled or selfish, open my eyes, Lord, to everything in my life that You have blessed and given me and all the things that You have bestowed upon me and given me to watch over and take care of.
Help me to be more aware and appreciative of the people that You have brought into my life, those who have taught me more about the ways in which I can love You and serve You better. Help me to be more appreciative of the tougher situations with which I have faced and to look to You with greater fervor.  Help me to open my eyes to how much you have given me.

Your love and blessings are so great, Lord, and sometimes we get caught up in the smaller things, and forget how much we are truly blessed and entrusted with.  Please help us to always remember to give thanks to You for this beautiful life with which you have blessed us.

May you all have a meaningful, spirit-filled Advent and glorious Christmastide!

In Christ's love,