In the summer of 2013, I learned that I would be traveling to Israel in January 2014 — a major item on my “bucket list” and a lifetime dream come true. Needless to say, I was excited. Besides the anticipation of experiencing a new place and new cultures, I knew that I could expect some spiritual and emotional changes. After all, this was no ordinary place and no ordinary travel — it was a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
A war wages daily, on one side of the battle is the materialistic world that lures, romances and entices our baser, self-focused instincts for pleasure, comfort, luxury and wealth. On the other side is the call to discipleship to Jesus Christ which, in contrast, invites us to seek a simpler life ruled by love of God and neighbor, requires self-sacrifice for the common good, and calls forth desires for peace, justice, worship, and communion with others.
Some day you will have to face your Maker! We've all heard that phrase. The hour will come when we will stand alone before God with no place to hide, no room to rationalize, and no excuses to offer for our weaknesses and sin. We will stand in a searing light, naked and exposed, and all we ever did, good and bad, will stand with us in that light. That prospect, however vaguely felt, makes for a dark corner in every person's mind
I’ve been engaged in some delightfully creative work for my mother lately — although it’s been far from easy. After my Dad went to be with the Lord a few years ago, my parents’ house pretty much remained as it had looked for the last twenty years, except for the gradual acquisition of even more family photos and mementos as the children and grandchildren got older and lives changed.
I recently saw an explanation of Advent that said something to the effect that “If you’re tired of Christmas by the 25th of December you are doing Advent wrong.”