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Showing posts from December, 2016

"The Thrill of Hope": Reflections on O Holy Night

Fun fact alert!   I read in the book, Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas  , that O Holy Night was the very first song ever to be broadcast over the radio waves on Christmas Eve 1906, launching a completely new platform for music to be transmitted and enjoyed.  What an amazing experience it must have been to have heard this beautiful hymn on the air waves for the very first time.  Just another miracle of Christmas. Let us pray that all radio transmissions give glory to God the way the very first one did! O Holy Night is my hands-down favorite Christmas hymn and much to my children's chagrin I can listen to it over and over and over again (especially if Josh Groban is crooning it). This song is rich in meaning and has provided much to meditate on and pray about. Let's look at a few of it's most powerful lines.....  "Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till he appeared and the soul felt its worth."  For many, Chr

"He Will Bring Us Goodness and Light": Reflections on Do You Hear What I Hear?

It's Christmas quiz time : The topic of conversation at your family Christmas dinner is (pick all that apply): How yummy the lasagna is. The number of batches of Christmas cookies Aunt Betty baked this year. Whether the Mets will trade Noah Syndegaard or not.  A heated discussion of how much the kids have grown.  The mystery of the Incarnation of Christ. If you guessed that the conversation at my Christmas dinner is numbers 1-4 you aced this quiz.  I come from a practicing Catholic family, yet any discussion of the "true meaning of Christmas" is conspicuously absent from our Christmas gatherings. What's up with that?   Granted, Christmas dinner is hardly the time for a presentation of a theological treatise on the hypostatic union.  Nor is anyone really interested in listening to Uncle Jimmy practice his preaching career, roaring fire and brimstone while Aunt Betty nods approvingly and continues to munch on  a butter cookie. How

"I Have No Gift to Bring": Reflections on The Little Drummer Boy

Pssst.  I have a secret.   I AM the little drummer boy . Well, not exactly... I mean,  I'm a girl and I don't play the drums, and while I am, ahem , somewhat vertically challenged, overall I don't think I'm all that little. Details, details, details. The fact remains that I AM the little drummer boy.  I have approached the King of Kings more times than I can count, 100% convinced that I have no gift to bring that is fit to give him. My weaknesses, my failings, my poverty and my littleness seem completely unfit to present to His Majesty. Worse than that, the gold, frankincense and myrrh that others around me have to offer possess a WOW factor that I can't even hope to imitate. My guess is that there are a lot of us drummer boys out there.  We drummer boys spend all our energies lamenting what we don't have and wishing for the gifts that others have.  In keeping our vision focused on our weaknesses and others strengths, we stand before Jesus, stuc

Gloria in Excelsis Deo: Spiritual Reflections on Christmas Carols

As a child, Christmas engaged all five of my senses .  The fresh Christmas tree engulfed our Brooklyn row-house living room each year with its unmistakable scent of pine. I loved the feel of the tinsel sticking to my arms as I raced past the tree on my way to the kitchen which was filled with tins of cookies that my Mom baked from scratch each December. I can still remember laying on our couch watching the lights twinkle on the tree, munching on butter cookies and listening to the sounds of Andy Williams and Johnny Mathias croon Christmas carols from my parents' Christmas album collection. Those memories fill my heart today with the same mixture of emotions I felt as a young child - a sense of wonder and joy along with a deeper tug of longing.  When I was younger, I could not fully understand why the trappings of Christmas which so captivated my senses, left me feeling a little bit empty on the inside. I watched others around me approach the Christmas season with such excite