Like the fallen Autumn Leaves, one month blows by after another. One Season after the next.
The Year 2015 is drawing to an end.
Thanksgiving Day 2015 has come and gone and here we are on the second Sunday of Advent. For many, Thanksgiving Day ignites the beginning of the Holiday Shopping Season. Frenzied and determined crowds have hit the stores on Black Friday at the crack of dawn (or earlier) in order to find that perfect gift at the perfect price. Stampedes and suffocation headline the news as the day unfolds.
At St. Simeon Skete, we prepare for Christmas by making the preparations for Advent.
Click on this link: Previous blog post on Advent Wreath
We’ve dug out the Advent Candles, found our carefully stored away bells to pin up our sleeve
|On Advent Sunday an empty creche & yarn (straw) is placed on table|
Advent Sunday was last week, November 29. It began a penitential time to prepare our souls - making room in the “Inn” of our hearts for Christ, the One who is the Perfect Gift that paid the Perfect price for us.
At St. Simeon Skete, we follow The Nativity Fast, a period of abstinence and penance in preparation for the Nativity of Christ (December 25). The fast is similar to the Western Advent, except that it runs for 40 days instead of four weeks and is observed from November 15th until December 24, inclusively.
We live in a fast paced world in which our wants and goals are best defined by the words: "bigger and better". Small things are overlooked as we strive for super size, super stars, super heroes. Little things don't seem to have much potential but, in fact, it is those "small things", "small beginnings" and "impossible situations" that God uses to do His best work. (Zechariah 4:10).
At Nazareth House Apostolate we are daily reminded of God doing big with little.
When we look back over the years of NHA in Sierra Leone we find one man with a prayer as its beginning.
A decade and a half later, we have a school with 300 students, a compound, a farm and are reaching more and more in the villages.
Our accomplishments in Sierra Leone stand up along side many NGO's that have far more resources than us. Never underestimate the potential in small things, especially when they depend entirely on God.
|Secretly, a strand of straw (yarn) is placed in the creche representing a good deed|
God could have chosen better people to do the great things of the Old and New Testament; but he didn't. He chose souls like Abraham - afraid to believe in the promise, Jacob, the cheat who struggles with everyone, Moses- an impatient murderer, unable to wait for God. David, an adulterer, abusing position, perk, and power. There was Hezekiah, the reforming king who could not quite go far enough, Peter who denied Christ - all these guys messed up - they were real, like us - bungled and botched, impossible situations... but God saw fit to use them.... and then there was a very young, unassuming, unnoticed Jewish girl from a small village that didn't do anything wrong .... God did what He did in them and He can do it in us.
|by Christmas Morning, our good deeds will have lined the creche for the Christ Child|
So when you find yourself tempted to buy that expensive gift you really can't afford, or you find yourself adding more decorations because your neighbor's yard looks better than yours, or you just knocked someone out of the way so you'd be the one of the first ten in line to get that "hot item" ... think about the capacity in small,
think about what we are really celebrating ... think about Love.