Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests Luke 2:14
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! Can you believe Jesus is finally here?! This advent season went by so fast, I feel like it was just December 1st yesterday! How did your preparing go? Were you able to welcome Jesus with an open heart and mind? Was this Christmas different for you? I know for me personally, this advent and Christmas were a lot different than years past. At the beginning of advent, I made the commitment to follow Dynamic Catholic’s Best Advent Ever program, write scripture out every day from the bible and pray the rosary. Well….two of those things happened everyday..sorta. I watched the videos from Dynamic Catholic and would write my scripture out but I slacked a lot on the rosary part. I also came to the realization that I need to start making more time for Jesus in my day. My excuses ranged from being too busy, to just being too lazy and wanting time for myself. Those were obviously not good excuses at all and I began to realize that this advent had been changing me.
As I have mentioned in a previous blog, I have not been to confession in years. So, there I was, one random Thursday evening, sitting in church waiting to go to confession. I was a little nervous, it literally had been at least 3 years since I stepped foot into a confessional, let alone really thought about how my sins were affecting my relationship with God. He made me realize that if I was going to be prepared for the coming of his son, I needed to be forgiven for the sins I had been carrying around for some time. I headed into the confessional, went face to face and told the priest my sins. I walked out of there feeling brand new. It’s amazing how God works, how wonderful and freeing forgiveness is. God knows the exact time we need everything.
Now let’s fast forward to December 16th, very specific I know, but something crazy occurred that day. Leah Darrow put together a Christmas Eve novena. A novena is a form of worship consisting of special prayers on nine successive days. This novena she put together was to St. Therese. Now most of you know, St. Therese is my favorite saint and so of course I decided to participate. It’s so crazy to me how God places things into our lives, I mean I literally stumble over, run into and discover things right when I need them. God sure has a plan for this crazy life of mine. Anyway, I made the commitment to say the novena and made this part of my advent routine. Later that evening, I had the opportunity to say the rosary and go to Eucharistic Adoration. I truly felt God speaking to me in more ways than one that day. I also had the opportunity to listen to a catholic artist that evening, Taylor Tripodi. Now if you have not heard her, you need to, her voice is so beautiful! God truly was looking out for me that Sunday, and put me exactly where I needed to be. Soon after, I found that I was making a commitment to read my bible, watch the Dynamic Catholic videos and write out scripture! The rosary thing though, still wasn’t happening. This is something I’m working on in 2019. Anyway, onto Christmas.
Christmas each year seems to be different the older I get. As a child, it was so much fun to be with my family and of course get whatever toy I wanted that year. Now I’m more excited to be with my family and talk to relatives and receive presents that are either practical or help enrich my faith. My mom gave me a Every Sacred Sunday book this year and let’s just say I was really excited when I opened that up! But Christmas was still different for me. I found myself being truly excited and overjoyed for the birth of Jesus. This year I was prepared for him more than I have ever been before. I could not wait to go to mass Christmas eve and then spend time with my Lefeld side in the evening and then my grandma and uncle on Christmas day. I found myself being overjoyed with the birth of Jesus, rather than being content with new material items. My days were spent making new memories with my family and cherishing the time I had with each and everyone of them. Life changes so fast these days, so who knows where my life will be by next year! God has blessed me in so many ways this past year. Even when he didn’t answer the prayers I wanted answers to or give me exactly what I wanted. His hand has been in every hour of everyday. Through the trials and feelings of loneliness at times and through the joy and happiness, he was there. He will continue to be there. I am so excited to see what this next year will bring!
My hope for you this year is that it will bring joy, pure happiness and a closer relationship with God. I hope you continue to search for him each day and find little ways each day to make someone else’s day a little better. I hope you find everything you’re looking for in Jesus. You can find him everywhere. I encourage you in this new year to take time to find him. Say a prayer for a hurting friend or a prayer thanking him for all he has given you. I guarantee you’ll see your life begin to change.
Return to me with your whole heart Joel 2:12