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You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

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When Dr. Seuss was 53 years old, he was fed up. The children’s book author and illustrator was tired of the noise, the constant activity, and the busy-ness that was attached to Christmas. His desire was that people would celebrate the joy and peacefulness of the season without all the hoopla detracting from it. So he did what any great writer does. He wrote a story about it. How the Grinch Stole Christmas has become a classic, spanning over five decades.

It’s funny that in today’s world we think of the Grinch as an awful and mean creature. We forget that he actually transformed his attitude about Christmas. He saw the Whos in Whoville celebrating together, even without the gifts and food. He discovered that it was about being together and sharing this special day with each other.

“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more.

And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day.”

How is your Advent going? Are you caught up in the gifts, food, and busy-ness? Are you finding yourself getting anxious about all the things to do and people on your shopping list?

What is your focus as we approach Christmas Day? Are you finding time to pray, reflect and give thanks for the miracle of Christmas? Are you setting aside time to be fully present to those you love and those you meet?

How big is your heart this Christmas season?

Impossible

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How would you like to prepare a meal for 4,000 people?

Many of us have cooked Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners with tables full of people. It’s takes planning and coordination. And it takes a bit luck to make sure everything is ready to eat at the exact same time.

But making a meal for 4,000 people? I think most of us would say one simple word: “Impossible.” In today's Gospel, we read how Jesus and his disciples went up to a mountain near the Sea of Galilee. The crowd that was following Him had been with Him for three days, and Jesus knew he needed to get them something to eat. But when He made the suggestion for a dinner break, the disciples responded with their own version of “impossible.” "Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place to satisfy such a crowd?"
Needless to say there were no nearby grocery stores and the ability to call for take-out wouldn’t be invented for a few thousand years.
But of course we know how this story ends. We’re all familiar with the loaves and fishes and the extra baskets of scraps.

How quick are you to say something is impossible in your life? How often do you reject an idea or a thought simply because you don’t think you’re able to follow through on it? We often find ourselves rejecting our abilities and talents, or questioning our place in the world. "I'm not good enough. I can't do it."

The Feeding of the 4000 is a lesson for us all. It’s a simple reminder that we can easily turn the word “Impossible” into two words: “I’m possible.” All we need to do is repeat one simple sentence: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”-Philippians 4:13

Posted by Dan Herda

We Have a Choice

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Advent brings back many fond memories for me, does it for you?

I remember decorating our home with our Nativity set and an Advent wreath. One of my favorite memories was the Advent calendar which helped count down the days and also offered a bit of chocolate as a reward. There were the catalogs that came in the mail, and searching through them for what I hoped to receive for Christmas. Most of all, I recall a time of great anticipation and preparation for the birth of Jesus, and well, there was Santa too.

The gospel stories tell of that same anticipation and preparation. They remind us of God’s plan for our salvation. The plan where His love, so pure and freely given, sent the Word made flesh, Jesus, to save us. I think it’s easy to fall into a rhythm of life where Christmas comes and goes, and the stress of life can cloud our vision and dampen our enthusiasm of this amazing gift. The stories encourage us to not let anything get in the way of our anticipation and preparation.

  • Are you heading into this season with anticipation and excitement, just as a child?
  • Are you allowing your anxieties to dampen your enthusiasm?
  • Will you let the Christmas parties, shopping, decorations, concerts, Christmas cards, and stress obscure the most beautiful gift ever given?

We have a choice.

That gift is the Son from the Father. A gift given solely because He loves us and wants to spend eternity with us. That is something worth all the anticipation and preparation we can muster. Let the mystery of what has occurred, and is yet to occur, shape our daily life.

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