This morning as I frantically stitched up the last of my Christmas gifts, and ran to get ready for the first of several family celebrations this weekend. (Why do we always do this to ourselves?), I suddenly realized that I have not done a blessed thing about Christmas cards this year.
Something has to give. And so, this morning I decided to take a moment while my lasagna noodles boil, and share with you (and remind myself) some of the many ways God has blessed us in this past year.
As I whip up the third batch of royal icing to make 22 gingerbread houses for Sarah's kindergarten class to decorate, I'm thankful for my own home. Especially now, with the aroma of gingerbread and pine in the air, and the twinkly lights and Advent wreath. And I remember those who have lost a home this year due to unemployment or other financial hardships. May the Incarnate Lord, born in a stable, be close to them.
As I ponder what to get for the men in my life -- particularly my husband and our fathers -- I'm thankful for the wonderful, intrinsically manly qualities they possess. And I remember the many boys and girls in this country who are growing up without a loving father at the breakfast table. May St. Joseph, patron saint of families, be their constant intercessor.
As I think about my soldier nephew and my niece who wants to be a missionary, I'm thankful for them ... and for the wonderful example of motherhood my sister (their mother) has been to me. And I think of the Wise Men from the East who traveled the world to find the true Source of Light ... and for all those who are struggling to find and follow the truth. May the Star of Bethlehem shine in their hearts.
As I pull out yet another batch of cookies from the oven, I'm thankful for each of the friends and family members who will be enjoying them over the next few weeks. I think about friendships that have grown "inactive" in the past few years, and pray for each of those families by name. We may not see each other very often anymore, but I'm so grateful for the part each of these families have played in our lives.
Yesterday at the grocery store, I ran into our associate priest -- a vibrant young priest who genuinely seems to like being around people. I'm so thankful for what Father Gordon has added to our parish community, and I pray for vocations to serve the many parishes in the U.S. who are struggling without a priest in residence. May Our Lady whisper into the hearts of our young Catholic men, and lead them deep into the Sacred Heart, where they will serve their Lord faithfully and well.
Finally, I think of all that is going on this busy weekend: dinner with Christopher's godparents tonight, "Messiah" community sing followed by my husband's company Christmas party tomorrow, "girls" Advent tea Sunday afternoon, and my husband's performance in "Amahl and the Night Visitors" Sunday night. Whew! But then I remember those who are alone and isolated this Christmas, especially those in nursing homes and hospitals, single parents whose families are celebrating without them this Christmas, and children "in the system" who are longing for families of their own. May the Holy Family make a special place at their table, and possibly even prompt us to make a place at ours!
Oh, come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!