As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Matthew 10:7
Advent, 2016. Here we go! How can we make this proclamation with our lives this Advent? How can we share the good news in a world that is so frantic and busy and started selling Christmas in October? Sadly, many families really don’t know the true meaning of Christmas.
We put up a rustic stable each year with three foot plastic statues of Mary and Joseph, a shepherd, a cow, a donkey and a sheep. The manger has only hay in it until Christmas Eve when we parade out with our plastic baby Jesus singing Silent Night and Happy Birthday Jesus. (Actually, we now use a baby doll wrapped in a baby blanket because one year someone went through our part of town and took all of the baby Jesus’s they could find!)
One day a mom and her three kids were walking by and I invited them to come up and see the crèche close up. She replied, “Oh, we don’t tell our kids that story,” implying that it’s just a fairy tale anyway. I was really surprised! I had been so naïve to believe that everyone at least acknowledged Jesus’ birth along with Santa Clause.
We still put up the nativity scene, because even if people don’t believe that Jesus is the reason for the season, it is a silent witness that some of us do believe. We can also continue to love our neighbors and reach out to them when they are in need. We can be patient in the long lines during this crazy shopping season and we can go Christmas caroling singing the age-old songs that lift hearts and touch us in a special way. We can share time with someone who is grieving or help with Christmas baskets for the needy.
I encourage you to take some extra time this Advent to be still in the Lord’s awesome presence. Let Him fill you with His peace so that you can then share it with those around you. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
Janice Carleton and her husband Jim live in Portland, OR and partner with Passionist Fr. Cedric Pisegna in Fr. Cedric Ministries. She is the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother of 6. Janice also leads women’s retreats and recently published her second book: God IS with Us. Visit Janice’s website at http://www.janicecarleton.com/ or email her at [email protected].