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Random Advent Thoughts | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

Random Advent Thoughts

From my Advent journey this year:

1. A Great Crowd of Witnesses
Ever since we became empty nesters, I’ve needed daily Mass. Each morning when I go in, I start with prayers and commend our children to God, much like Hannah did with Samuel. As I look to the front of the sanctuary and see the crucifix hanging from the baldachin¬†of our Cathedral, I imagine that I see Jesus on the cross at calvary, and I leave my cares and concerns on that hill.

 

And I remind myself each day that I cannot return and pick them up because that would be like telling Jesus He can’t do the job.

 

Probably 60 people attend each morning, and I’ve grown to know some of them. Many are retired. As I leave, and several stay and are praying the Apostles Creed, I draw comfort for these noble souls who probably don’t know they are becoming surrogate parents to me.

 

Each morning, as I leave, a 93-year-old veteran of World War II nods at me and waves as he prays. He is still fighting for his faith and his nation now, just like he did then.

 

And I’m glad I have him on my side. There is a great crowd of witnesses praying for us, here and in heaven.

2. Tree Trimming
During Advent, I’ve watched the slow process of preparing the cathedral for Christmas.

 

It started with a few bare trees. Then more were added. Up front, wooden boxes were stacked, and then covered.

Now the trees are decorated, and there are angels above animals and shepherds in what will soon be a Nativity scene.

When we prepare a Christmas tree, we probably trim some decayed branches, making more room for the good ones – like the master in the vineyard.

 

3. Family Trees
At yesterday’s Mass, our gospel reading was the genealogy of Jesus. As the priest read it, I remembered the years our family worked through reading the Bible aloud together. I recognized most of the names and remembered reading the same passage to my children.

 

After he finished reading, the priest noted there were some good people in that family tree and some not so good people. But the point is they were all used as part of God’s plan in bringing a savior to the world. And He will use us too.

 

I cried silently as I reflected on the past year and my own family tree. For most of my life, I’ve thought there was more bad than good. But this year, I learned there was more good than bad, but I hadn’t known of most of the good.¬†With that gospel reading and the quick message afterwards, I better understood that my own struggles with my family tree are part of God’s plan, and all I need to do is trust.

 

My family tree, my story, is a work in progress much like the Christmas decorations. Gradually, adding a little at a time, it becomes a beautiful tapestry. Encouraged by that thought, I left Mass as those who stayed continued to pray.
With the prayers of the great cloud of witnesses, both here as the Church Militant and in heaven as the Church Triumphant, I have the support of a bigger extended family than I could ever have imagined.

 

Whatever condition we are in or tree we are born into, God can take us and make us beautiful.

 

If you doubt that, then just remember that Christmas tree in Charlie Brown.

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