Sunday, December 11, 2016

Good News of Great Joy

Not everyone experiences Christmas the same way. And it's sad, and it makes us all sad, but it's true. Some people are alone this holiday. For some people, it will be their last holiday, and they know it. Some people are far away from those they love, some people feel they have no one who loves them enough to make a journey over to them.

But today is Gaudete Sunday--you know, the pink candle. It's a celebration in the middle of a penitential season of waiting. Why are you bringing up all this sadness in the middle of what should be a joyful occasion?

Well, here's the thing: our generation (and it's happened in every generation, it's just very public now thanks to the interweb) likes to take things that people celebrate, and they like to look at the dark side of it. Or, more often, they like to question why you aren't doing more. Why aren't you donating more? Why aren't you taking more action? Why are you looking at this charity or this service instead of this one? What are you? A biggot? A hypocrite? How can you be happy when there is so much suffering in the world?

And on, and on...

The thing we have to remember is that there is still something to celebrate. In fact, there's lots of celebrate. Because, despite all the tragedies of the world, the fact that people are able, anywhere, to be happy, is in and of itself a celebration-worthy occasion. The fact that people who have a lot are giving of themselves to those who don't have as much is inspiring. We shouldn't be angry at them because they're not just as in-need as everyone else. We should be looking around in our own lives to see if we could be doing the same thing to those who don't have as much as we do. And when we're able to give of ourselves and get that warm, cuddly feeling of having helped someone, even in the smallest of ways, we should celebrate.

Don't let anyone take that from you.

For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.'"

Luke 2:10-11

Much love, and we'll see you next year!
Ceci Galvin
CYM, St. John the Evangelist

Monday, December 5, 2016

Boughs of Holly

It's finally here: the seasonal preparation for one of the world's favorite holidays. Advent, in all its hot-chocolate-drinking, carol-singing, neighbor-helping glory.

I know when I was growing up, Advent was one of my favorite times of the year--almost more so than Christmas, though I never really understood why. We tend to take this season for granted, especially when we consider the fact that most of us think of this season when we hear the term "Christmas." Because Advent is that special time of preparation that gives us all tinglies in our tummy because it's a season of anticipation.

Whether we're anticipating toys, the end of the nonstop commercializing, or a big old turkey leg; I think we can all agree that this season can really bring out the best in us. Not all the time, of course. It can be incredibly lonely or sad to those of us who don't have that Star of Bethlehem to journey towards, but for those of us who are warmed by its light, it's the sharing of it with everyone else that makes the season really enjoyable.

We're talking about the lead-up to Christmas--peace to men of good will. Joy to the world! The literal birth of Jesus! It's this element that looms in the background, soaking into our lives and helping remind us about what makes us the best versions of ourselves. It's a season that so deeply affects us, whether we believe the same thing or not, that it's become the source of all of this craziness once a year. Yes, the commercialization comes a-creeping just after Halloween (and often times before it), but with it comes the desire to treat our brother with dignity and respect. To go out of our way to give of ourselves--of our time, our money, our selves--out of good will toward our fellow man.

This season is not one to be taken lightly. It's one of those times that can make or break us: bring out the best or the worst. It's a time of anticipation, of preparation, and of improvement. A time to look closely at ourselves, but also a time to look outward and to give of ourselves. Take this time to  really reflect on what makes this time so special to you specifically: and use it to make yourself the best that you can be.

Much love,
Ceci Galvin
CYM, St. John the Evangelist