Seven Quick Tunes Friday

— 1 —

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

That glorious Song of old

Of Angels bending near the Earth

To touch their harps of Gold

— 2 —

God Rest You Merry Gentlemen

Let nothing you dismay

Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day

To Save Us All From Satan’s Power When We Were Gone Astray

O Tidings of Comfort and Joy, Comfort and Joy

O Tidings of Comfort and Joy

— 3 —

He rules the world

With truth and strength

And makes the Nations prove

The glories of

His righteousness

And wonders of His Love

And wonders of His Love

And wonders

And wonders of His Love

— 4 —

THIS, THIS is CHRIST THE KING

Whom shepherds guard and angels sing

HASTE, HASTE to bring him laud

The babe, the son of Mary

— 5 —

It's Christmas time in Hollis Queens
Mom's cooking chicken and collard greens
Rice and stuffing, macaroni and cheese
And Santa put gifts under Christmas trees
Decorate the house with lights at night
Snow's on the ground, snow white so bright
In the fireplace is the yule log
Beneath the mistle toe as we drink egg nog
The rhymes you hear are the rhymes of Darryl's
But each and every year we bust Chrsitmas carols

— 6 —

But say a prayer – pray for the other ones
At Christmas time

it’s hard, but when you’re having fun
There’s a world outside your window

And it’s a world of dreaded fear
Where the only water flowing is a bitter sting of tears
And the christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom

Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you

And there won’t be snow in Africa this christmas time
The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life

Where nothing ever grows
No rain or rivers flow

Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?

— 7 —

Love and Joy come to you

And a Merry Christmas too

And God Bless You and Send You a Happy New Year

And God Send You a Happy New Year

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

On Vacation till January 3rd…take care, God Bless and Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

or as my two-year-old says, “Merry Christmas Trees!”

Small Successes

FaithButton

1) We made it to Christmas break!

2) I got gifts together for Shelby’s bus driver, bus monitor, teacher, teacher assistants and classmates and we got them delivered. It wasn’t like we did huge gifts, but the number appeared daunting and we stayed on schedule!

3)  I let Jeff handle the Christmas shopping this year (excluding himself). Yeah me for relinquishing control and getting to enjoy the season!

4) I got a Breviary! Well, it’s new to me, it was my mom’s. And I haven’t cracked it open yet because this is the most stressful week of the year…but I got one.

5) I got my Small Successes done :). Merry Christmas Y’all!

Join Sherry for more Small Successes.

A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings

 

1) I am thankful for elves who help me Christmas shop.

2) for cheeseballs. I love them.

3) For the wonderful kids in Shelby’s class who were full of hugs for us and loved the little Christmas gifts we put together for them.

4) For great neighbors who drop off hand-me-downs for my boys (that are in really good condition, bonus!).

5) Big Bang Theory re-runs. Sometimes I just need to laugh that hard.

Join Judy for more thankfulness!

Ten on Tuesday

Once again, these questions were provided by Chelsea. 

1. What is your favorite online-only store?
Amazon, zappos.com, and overstock.com…oh and etsy

2. Do you enjoy wrapping gifts?
If it includes adult beverages I do!

3. What is the temperature in your city today?
It’s cold right now but temps will be in the 70s

4. What time do you eat dinner?
By five or I have three little people telling me about it

5. Will you be making New Years Resolutions?
Eh, no

6. How old is your oldest pair of shoes that you still wear?
A year old…and they were bought after five years with a previous pair that I wore a hole in the sole of, so I have no regrets!

7. Do you have any restaurant phone numbers saved in your phone?
Subway, seriously and I don’t know why

8. What is your favorite and least favorite letter to write in cursive?
I dislike G’s, I like K’s

9. Do you know any good riddles?
No, I am riddle deficient

10. How do you feel about snow?
LOVE

Tuesday’s Ten (not Ten on Tuesday) A Triple Treat!

Top Ten Christmas Movies

1. A Christmas Story—between the nostalagia elements and the memories of that one toy you HAD to have. Not to mention, the excellent casting of the movie and excellently interwoven subplots make this a favorite year round for my family.

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation—granted, there are some scenes not appropriate for children, but what I love about this movie is it unapologetically shows all the stresses of the Christmas season. Particularly those surrounding having family together. Those are the ones we would try to gloss over if given the choice, but can erupt in a pretty nasty way. This gives us a chance to laugh at them.

3. A Charlie Brown Christmas—it almost didn’t air in 1965 in large part because of Linus reading from the King James Version of the Bible and the gospel of Luke. It has been renewed through 2015, but I bought it on DVD because my kids ask to watch it year-round. It’s nice to be able to remember the lessons of Christmas all year long.

4. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus–this is a Rankin-Bass production that is very difficult to see on television now. A few years ago ABC Family Channel had it on their 25 days of Christmas, but it hasn’t been in the line-up for a few Christmases now. It is the story of how Santa Claus receives the “mantle of immortality.” It’s not Biblical, obviously, or accurate or anything else and is actually based on a book by L. Frank Baum (the guy who wrote The Wizard of Oz) but I love the stop motion animation and the artistry in Rankin-Bass productions and, for me, this one is the most beautiful from a artistic point of view.

5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas—this is the original animated version narrated by Boris Karloff. What I like about this is that the message is subtle. It reaches people where they are at. If someone is on the fence about the birth of Christ, it doesn’t beat them over the head, it shows the Grinch removing all the commercial aspects of the Who’s Christmas only to find that Christmas means more. And I love Max, the Grinch’s dog and that song, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”

6. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever—I wish a network would start a revival for this one the way TBS did for A Christmas Story. I read the book as a kid and remember seeing it one year on tv. It starred Loretta Swit. It’s about this family of “bad kids” in a town. The other kids’ only refuge from them is church until one little boy tells them they get free snacks in church. As fate, or God, would have it, they are cast as the leads in the church’s annual Christmas pageant. I’m glossing over a lot of details, obviously, but it manages to be heart warming without being cheesy and very funny as well.

7. The Bells of St Mary’s—I watched it once with my mom when I was a kid and was hooked. Ingrid Bergman and Bing Crosby were expertly cast and it is a beautiful story of Christmas miracles.

8. Holiday Inn–I love it mostly for the music. It helps that I worked in a Holiday Inn too.

9. While You Were Sleeping—Now we can argue as to whether this is a Christmas movie or not, I maintain it is because it centers around one young woman who has no family and if there is gonig to be a miracle at Christmas, it might as well be having the family you’ve never had. I also love the scene when they are at mass, even funnier if you are Catholic. The grandmother’s line, “I liked mass better in Latin. It was nicer when you didn’t know what they were saying.”

10. A Claymation Christmas—Also no longer in rotation on tv, this was part of many of my childhood Christmases as a favorite. The Christmas carols brought to life through claymation are fun and amazing. Here are two of my favorites. I would definitely watch these with kids:

Top Ten Favorite Christmas Carols

1. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

2. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

3. The First Noel

4. Angels We Have Heard On High

5. Joy to the World

6. O Come All Ye Faithful

7. What Child is This?

8. Silent Night

9. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

10. Once in Royal David’s City

Honorable Mention because it is an Epiphany Hymn

What Star is This

Top 10 Favorite Christmas Songs

1. The Twelve Pains of Christmas off the Bob River’s Twisted Christmas albums

2. Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses

3. You’re a Mean One Mister Grinch by Boris Karloff

4. Santa Claus and His Old Lady by Cheech and Chong

5. The Little Drummer by David Bowie and Bing Crosby

6. Father Christmas by the Kinks

7. Snoopy and the Red Baron (Christmas Bells) by the Royal Guardsmen

8. Dominic the donkey 😉

9. Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Bob Geldof and Company

10. Christmas In Hollis by Run DMC

Novena for the Holy Family

begins today.

Novena Prayer:Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless me and grant me the grace of loving Holy Church as I should, above every earthly thing, and of ever showing my love by deeds.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless me and grant me the grace of openly professing as I should, with courage and without human respect, the faith that I received as your gift in holy Baptism.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless me and grant me the grace of sharing as I should in the defense and propagation of the Faith when duty calls, whether by word or by the sacrifice of my possessions and my life.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless me and grant me the grace of loving my family and others in mutual charity as I should, and establish us in perfect harmony of thought, will, and action, under the rule and guidance of the shepherds of the Church.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless me and grant me the grace of conforming my life fully as I should to the commandments of God’s law and those of His Holy Church, so as to live always in that charity which they set forth.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I ask in particular this special favor:
(Mention your favor).

Dedication of One’s Family:
Most loving Jesus, by Your sublime and beautiful virtues of humility, obedience, poverty, modesty, charity, patience, and gentleness, You blessed with peace and happiness the family which You chose on earth. In Your mercy look upon my family. We belong to You, for we have received Your many blessings over many years and we entrust ourselves to Your loving care.

Look upon my family in Your loving kindness, preserve us from danger, give us help in time of need, and grant us the grace to persevere to the end in imitation of Your holy Family, so that having revered You and loved You faithfully on earth, we may praise You eternally in heaven.

Mary, dearest Mother, to your intercession we have recourse, knowing that your Divine Son will hear your prayers. Glorious patriarch, Saint Joseph, help us by your powerful prayers and offer our prayers to Jesus through Mary’s hands. Amen.

 

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, being subject to Mary and Joseph, You sanctified family life by Your beautiful virtues. Grant that we, with the help of Mary and Joseph, may be taught by the example of Your holy Family, and may after death enjoy its everlasting companionship.Lord Jesus, help us ever to follow the example of Your holy Family, that in the hour of our death Your glorious Virgin Mother together with Saint Joseph may come to meet us, and we may be worthy to be received by You into the everlasting joys of heaven. You live and reign forever. Amen.

Are you a Star, an Angel or a Shepherd?

This post by Sherry reminded me this morning about something that happened in my childhood.

My mother was always “involved” at church. She sang in the choir, cantored, taught CCD and ran children’s programs. Always, at least, since I was four and remember her doing it. If it was at church, my mom did it. I am told my father was also involved, particularly with CYO (as it was calling in those days, it was the 80’s) including a memorable bonfire where my father ended up being the only adult for a good while and prevented one teen from burning the rubber off his shoes in the fire, stopped another from jumping over the six-foot flames and had to get yet a third out of the woods where he was searching for the largest limb with the most branches to roast the most marshmallows on it. Sorry, Dad, I am laughing about that out loud right now as I type it. My parents also taught pre-baptism classes and my dad was an RCIA sponsor. For me life was either school or church with my parents’ commitment. But, I digress.

One year, along with several teens in the CYO program, my mom assembled a Christmas children’s program at the Children’s mass. Okay, now before any Scrooge’s complain about no Christmas pageant during the liturgy, I’m gonna ask you to use your charity while reading this post and if you can’t…stop reading it. Anyway, the children were invited to sit on the floor in front of the altar (not on the altar) and as teens narrated the Christmas story the children were asked to make motions mimicking three teenage girls who stood in front of them. The children were divided into three groups so they would concentrate on one of the three teens. They wore paper labels each with a symbol that corresponded with the teen they were supposed to be watching: shepherds, angels and stars. Three symbols of Christmas. The Angel of the Lord appeared to the Shepherds and a star appeared over the stable where Mary and Joseph were with their son and it guided three kings there as well.

My mom wanted me to be a shepherd, I demanded to be an angel. I had these ideas that shepherds should be boys and angels girls. I hadn’t made my mind up about the stars.

I can still see the faces of the three girls standing up in the old sanctuary of that church. I remember them wearing white robes with their labels pinned on them. I remember a young man who narrated the story. I don’t remember who the priest was at the time or where my parents were. If I think REALLY hard, I remember what the carpet felt like. I know that’s weird, but I do.

In our faith, as we grow, we vacillate from being a shepherd, angel and star. Sometimes we are being surprised by our faith and revelations. Other times we are proclaiming the Good News. And then there are times we simply radiate Christ’s love from our being. No words are needed. I’m most commonly a shepherd, but I have found myself in the Angel role more and more now that I am a mother. I don’t consciously know of a time I was a star, but I guess it’s possible it happened once or twice. When I think of a “star” I think of Sister Isaac, SU,  the sister who runs our ministry for the poor at church and who is always radiant to me with God’s love.

Christmas is a time when we can be all three though. We can still be caught off guard, proclaim the Good News, and radiate God’s love if we are open to all of them. I think I found a new Advent goal in this fourth week, to find when I can be a shepherd, an angel or a star and embrace those moments for all they are worth as gifts of my faith.

The Gospel According to Tim Tebow Fans

Let me start by saying I’m going to leave comments open on this, but I probably won’t respond personally to any of them, because, in this case, I KNOW the Giant Internet Hand of Spanking is going to come out full force, and I have more important things to do with preparing for the birth of Christ and such happening so soon.

As I write this, the Denver Broncos are playing the New England Patriots. It’s Tebow vs Brady. But for some people I know, it’s God vs Satan. Wait, what, Tom Brady is Satan? No, I didn’t say that. I’m not a Brady fan, but I’m not going to label him Satan’s spawn either. No, no, what I mean is, there is the heresy going around in a lot of Christian circles, particularly Evangelical ones, but others as well, that says that Tim Tebow is God’s quarterback and his success is because “God is on his side.” Yeah, well, let’s break this down a little bit.

For the record, Tim Tebow has never proclaimed himself “God’s quarterback” and aside from saying he’s a Christian, working for his father’s organization, appearing in a pro-life ad and famously thanking God on the field, Tebow hasn’t wasted spent a lot of time trying to convert folks through quotation of Bible verses in interviews or telling people they are wrong and he is right in his public appearances. Many, many of his fans could learn from his example.

As Jen Floyd Engel wrote for Fox Sports:

The defenses of Tebow, by Christians, are so ugly it defeats the point. This is where Christianity so often loses people, the ardent preaching of the gospel of “I’m Right, You’re Wrong” and the demand for tolerance and the unwillingness to grant it. Because if Tebow were Muslim and did celebrate by bowing to Mecca, that would deserve respect too. Same for a Jewish player, yet why do I see that blowing up into an ugly mess as well? The level of discourse about religion in this country is frankly embarrassing, a bastard child of political discourse.

Interesting when I post a link to this article on facebook, I get no “likes,” even though I have several rabid Tebow fans who are posting his accolades every three seconds. I have a theory. It goes like this: for many of these Christians, that criticism hits too close to home. Way to close.

In promoting the “I’m right and you’re wrong” and lack of tolerance train, I’ve seen more than a few “God is on Tim Tebow’s side” and “God is on the Broncos side because they have Tim Tebow” posts. This is a very dangerous theology. Dangerous because it’s heresy. God does not choose sides. We choose them as condition of being human and therefore fallen (remember Adam and Eve, that’s when the fallen part happened). What happens to this theology though if  Tebow breaks his leg before the end of the game today, or the Broncos lose? Well, if they were winning because God was on Tim Tebow’s side, than is God no longer on Tebow’s side? Is Tebow’s faith not strong enough? If we are prepared to make any of the above assertions, then we need to be prepared to stand before God at the final judgment and tell Him exactly why we chose to commit the sin of idolatry when we found ourselves in enough of a God-like position to judge the state of Tim Tebow’s soul. Or anyone else’s for that matter.

Now, this is where a few Evangelicals have stood up when I point it out and said, “but wait, in the Old Testament, God had a chosen people, so God DOES choose sides.” Yes, I’m going to address that. If you want to go with that as your interpretation, fine. That means God’s chosen people are the Jews and as a Christian you are not one of them. However, as a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and King of Kings, you are part of the NEW COVENANT in the NEW TESTAMENT. The greatest evangelizer in the history of the world was Paul. He was so effective that his guards had to be changed every 48 hours or he would convert them when he was imprisoned. As Paul writes in Romans: For I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: for Jew first, and then Greek. (Rom 1:16) (emphasis mine). Everyone who believes not the ones who are winning or losing at that particular moment.

Everyone. That’s certainly good news for you and me who may face fates much worse in our lives than Tim Tebow being criticized for his beliefs. It’s nice to know that a parent who loses a young child to cancer is not being punished for their faith but is probably serving a part of God’s will that he or she simply does not understand. And for all those Old Testament lovers, remember Job? It was precisely BECAUSE of the strength of his faith that he was tested with the loss of everything. I would hate to be Job in today’s world and have a facebook full of Christians telling me that if I believed more this wouldn’t happen. Or that God had abandoned me which is what Satan wanted to Job to think way back when…

I admire Tim Tebow and I admit it is a shame that the lamestream media give him a hard time and that he is being attacked at every turn. I think his lack of response to the criticism of his faith is more than admirable and a very powerful lesson to those of his fans that choose to take notice and heed it. Tim Tebow preaches the Gospel by LIVING it. He knows that in the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus Himself COMMANDS us in this way: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?– So be perfect,– just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Mt 43-48

Tebow’s fans who continue preaching a heretical Gospel are doing no favors to Tebow himself or Christianity. Don’t stake your salvation on an NFL quarterback’s success…

It’s half-time. Denver:16 Pats: 27