Advent

On Smiling Angels and Joy Filled Hearts

It is difficult to be a parent today, especially if you have a child or children with special needs. The days are emotional roller coaster rides often filled with frustration and only fleeting glimpses of progress. These families often push the pause button on their old lives as the focus becomes all about therapists, adaptive learning, fighting with schools for […]

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch

Daily Reflection — Be Refreshed by the Lord

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-29) The closer we come to Christmas Day, […]

Practical Ideas for a Better Advent

We are well into the Second Week of Advent. Already! Don’t worry, if you have not begun your watchful preparation, it is not too late… One of my strongest, most enduring memories from my childhood is the time spent preparing for Christmas. We did not have any family traditions involving the Advent Wreath or the Jesse Tree. And most certainly, like all the other […]

"The Prophet Isaiah" (detail) by Michelangelo

Daily Reflection — Let the clouds rain down the Just One

“Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior…” (cf. Isaiah 45:8) I am encouraged by the number of people who by their service to others demonstrate their faith this Advent season. Their spoken love of Jesus is backed up by their solidarity with those around them who are less fortunate and in need. […]

"St. John the Baptist Preaching in the Wilderness" (detail) by Anton Raphael Mengs

Daily Reflection — Hear the Baptist’s Cry

“All praise, eternal Son, to thee, whose advent doth thy people free; whom with the Father we adore and Holy Ghost for evermore.” * – – – * Closing verse from “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry” by Charles Coffin. The  words of this hymn serve to remind us of the incredible gift we anticipate and prepare for during this […]

Watching and Waiting During Advent in Carmel

Advent in Carmel To experience Advent in Carmel is to enter into a rarified atmosphere that is filled to the brim with Carmel’s living legacy of Advent customs and observances. My first Advent in Carmel remains fresh in my memory today, still as vibrant and alive as when it happened. I feel at a loss, however, to write about it. […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

The Fast Comes Before the Feast

Christmas cards speak about it.  Christmas carols sing about it.  Even the angels at Bethlehem proclaimed it.  “Peace on earth.”  “The lion shall lie down with the lamb.” (Is 11).  “Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever” (Ps 72). The coming of the Messiah obviously has something to do with the advent of peace. But […]

"Childhood of Christ" (detail) by Gerrit van Honthorst

Daily Reflection — The Lord is Patient

“But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the […]

Have Yourself a Counter-Cultural Advent

Here we are once again, beginning my favorite season of the year: Advent.  It’s the longest it can possibly be this year, too, so it’s a good thing I like it. I’ve decided that Advent is the most counter-cultural season we celebrate.  I’m not only referring to the fact that the world seems to celebrate Christmas as soon as it […]