Fr. Chuck Faso O.F.M. 

 AMI Travel

5809N Cicero Ave

 #1Chicago IL 60646

Website: 

www.amitravel.com

Email:    tours@amitravel.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May the Lord give you Peace!

Advent-Christmas Season

 

The Season of Advent is here! The season of longing and waiting, the season of naming our fears and stirring up our hopes, the season of shorter days and longer nights, the season of staying in and staying warm, the season of less light and endless darkness, the season of quiet and inner listening, a season of changing to longer days and shorter nights. Once again, as if for the first time, we prepare our advent wreaths of hope and bring out the purple vestments of longing. We live in this 21st Century with its wars and blessings, its hungers and desires, its accomplishments and failures. We are on the move and are called to stay in the struggle with the help God’s grace and to hope for a world filled with peace.

  We light a candle for each week of the four weeks of Advent. In this action, we ritualize our faith in a God who is light, our hope in a God who is faithful, our love for a God who embraces all peoples. We send cards to family and friends – each card, a blessing of Christ and an expression of our love. We search for and buy gifts that express our love, as God sent the best gift of love for us, Jesus the Christ – the Anointed One, the Messiah.

  Through the first three weeks of December, our days shorten and the darkness of night seem to be conquering, Isaiah the Prophet lifts our hearts with his message of hope for our despair and light for our darkness: “Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, Jerusalem!...Lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God!”

 We are the new Zion, the New Jerusalem who needs to fear no more. The Bible states 366 times “Do not be afraid!”– one for each day of the year and one for leap year. We are covered. We need only to listen and truly hear this good news. We will experience fear from many sources. The option is to choose not to become the fear, the despair, the darkness we feel. Name it! Claim it! Tame it! Advent offers us God’s creative ways to tame our fears and shows us how to use that energy that fear is in a positive way.

 Again and again Isaiah, the prophet of Advent, stirs our hopes that all will change for the better: “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”

 John the Baptizer announces the arrival of someone who will change everything, the start of something new, the beginning of a new way of thinking and being for one another, God’s kingdom coming into our hearts and minds in a totally new way, the dawn of justice that pushes back the darkness of hatred and prejudice.

 The Romans celebrated the victory of the Unconquerable Sun God on December 25 with great bonfires and festivities.

 We Christians in Rome in 325 AD announced that we know the name of the Unconquerable and Victorious God, not the Sun God but the Son of God, Jesus. And so began the celebration of Christmas on December 25 in Europe. Christmas with its lights everywhere – on trees and wreathes, on porches and windows - gives expression to the fulfillment of our hearts’ desire in the reality beyond our wildest dreams and imaginings - God becomes one of us in Bethlehem as a baby.

 We Christians in Rome in 325 AD announced that we know the name of the Unconquerable and Victorious God, not the Sun God but the Son of God, Jesus. And so began the celebration of Christmas on December 25 in Europe. Christmas with its lights everywhere – on trees and wreathes, on porches and windows - gives expression to the fulfillment of our hearts’ desire in the reality beyond our wildest dreams and imaginings - God becomes one of us in Bethlehem as a baby.

  December 25th begins two weeks of celebrating and remembering God’s great Love enfleshed in a helpless baby born in Bethlehem – a baby named Joshua bar Joseph (Jesus) – the One who saves. For nineteen days we continue to return to that crib scene to gaze again, to rub our eyes for a clearer look, to see Shepherds and Magi, to see a Holy Family of Mary and Joseph with Jesus, to see a donkey and a cow and remember Isaiah 1:3 – “An ox knows its owner and an ass its master’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people have not understood.” How blessed we are that we can see with faith that the Infant in the manger is Jesus, our Lord and Savior, the Son of God.

 We thank God for St Francis of Assisi who in 1223 invited the people of Greccio to a cave outside of the town for a midnight mass. In doing so they experienced the poverty of the Lord Jesus’ birth and God’s immense love for us all. This acting out of the Christmas story started the custom of having Manger scenes and Crib sets under our Christmas trees for this feast December 25.

 This year’s Advent-Christmas Season begins December 2, 2012 and ends January 13, 2013, the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus. This Advent-Christmas season never happened before and will never happen again. Where we all are in our journey as individuals, the Church, the World – is different than last year. How will we hear God’s Word during this season? How will the Word be light for our darkness and hope for our despair? Where will we find God-in-our midst, again in weakness and poverty? We prayerfully sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel!...O Come, Divine Messiah!...Come, O Long Expected Jesus!” Where do we need and want Jesus to come this Advent-Christmas Season? To our hearts and families? To Washington DC and Rome? To the starving in Haiti and the homeless on our American streets? To our veterans and politicians? There is still much darkness that needs to be pushed back by the light who is Christ who lives in our hearts and liberates us to be hope and freedom for others. Joy to the World! Come, Lord Jesus! We have a gift to celebrate and a task to accomplish – to be Peace on Earth!

 

Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas to you and your families!

 

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