The Ultimate in Thanksgiving

Do some words get jumbled in your head until you can’t remember what they mean anymore?  You know what I mean.  It’s like when you memorize something incorrectly; someone’s name, for instance.  For some reason that woman looks like a Susan to you when her name is actually Sharon.  For a while you don’t realize your mistake until, one day, you find out that her name is NOT Susan after all.  So, from then on she becomes the-woman-who’s-name-isn’t-Susan in your mind.  You may or may not remember that her real name is Sharon but, it is definitely NOT Susan.  Then she becomes Sharon-the-woman-who’s-name-isn’t-Susan.  Pretty soon all you remember is “Sharon” and “not”.  And that, my friends, is how you completely jumble two words in your head.  Take it from me.  I’m an expert.

For me, it’s like the words “Eucharist” and “Emmanuel.”  They both begin with “E”, are kinda long, have to do with Jesus’ presence, and sometimes get jumbled in my brain.  Now, let me clarify.  I don’t confuse the Holy Eucharist with Jesus as Emmanuel.  I know that the Eucharist is the real presence of Jesus and that Emmanuel is a title used to refer to Him.  However, sometimes I forget if “Eucharist” or “Emmanuel” means “God with us.”  To me, it seems logical that the word Eucharist would mean “God with us” since that’s what happens in the consecration; God becomes present to us in the form of bread and wine. 

Well, in case you’re like me and get a little confused about those two words also, I’m here to tell you that “Emmanuel” (and not “Eucharist”) means “God with us.”  Whew!  Glad we cleared that up.  Hopefully, I didn’t confuse you in the process.

Now that we’ve addressed the “Emmanuel” confusion, what about “Eucharist?”  According to About.com’s Catholicism section by Scott P. Richert, the word “Eucharist” comes from Greek “by way of Latin” and means “thanksgiving”.  How beautiful!  The word we use to refer to Christ becoming present in the bread and wine means “thanksgiving!”  After all, if there’s anything we should give thanks for, it’s God loving us so much that He sent His Son to earth to die for our sins AND that He continues to send Jesus to us every time Mass is celebrated through the bread and the wine of the Holy Eucharist.  If that’s not cause for giving thanks, I don’t know what is.

So, amidst your travels and meal preparations, consider carving out some time for the ultimate in thanksgiving and attend Mass.  No, it’s not a holy day.  But, what better way to give thanks than to participate in the sacrament that is “thanksgiving” on Thanksgiving.

Many Blessings for a Peaceful and Grace-filled Thanksgiving,
Laura

Hosting Jesus For Christmas

Advent is upon us and I have to confess that I don’t even have my Advent wreath set up yet.  Despite the extra week between Thanksgiving and the onset of Advent, I’m still behind.  But, that’s OK.  I’m sure I’m not the only one.  And, after all, perfection is not my goal (good thing too!)

This is the time of year when I start thinking about how to keep my and my family’s focus on the real meaning of Christmas.  (Guess I should have started a little earlier! hee hee) There are so many wonderful resources available for Advent.  I own many of them.  With all that’s available, it’s hard to believe that any more need to be created.  Yet, each Advent season, new books, devotionals, prayers and other spiritual tools come onto the market and I find myself drawn to them. 

I guess I’m always searching for a way to freshen our perspective and reinvigorate our spirits.  Part of me is also hoping for one of those magical parenting moments when the whole family is engaged and focused on our faith.  (Hey, it could happen!) But, sometimes all you need is a new perspective on the season to energize your observance.  With that thought in mind, here are some thoughts on Advent that occurred to me last week.  I hope they act as a catalyst for your own Advent celebration.

Preparing for the Birth of Our Lord is, in many ways, like planning a party with Jesus as the guest of honor.  One difference is that, instead of inviting Jesus to your home, you’re inviting Him into your heart and soul. So, let’s plan a party for Jesus and get ready to welcome the Young Savior at Christmas.

  1. Set a Date-This one’s easy, December 25th in case you haven’t heard.  It’s a Tuesday this year.  Mark your calendars!
  2. Send the Invitations-Spend time in prayer inviting Jesus into your life.  Invite others in your life (family, friends, and strangers if you’re so bold) to join you in welcoming Jesus.  You could do this through shared devotional time, sharing an Advent resource, or inviting them to Christmas Mass with you.
  3. Clean House-Spend time examining your conscience and then seek out the sacrament of Reconciliation to clean your “house” before your Guest arrives.
  4. Prepare for the Celebration-use this time to “decorate” your soul with the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and “cook” your guests favorite foods of love and forgiveness with a healthy helping of prayer on the side.
  5. FinallyWelcome the Guest and Enjoy the Celebration-Welcome Jesus into your own heart and soul.  Seek His presence in others.  Rejoice in the glow of your Special Guest’s presence through the Eucharist.

No matter what you do this Advent, spend some time in spiritual preparation and enjoy the many Blessings of the Season.

Happy Advent!

Laura

PS Here’s one of my favorite images of the Christmas season.  Really puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it?