He Had Grandparents Too

Do you find yourself pondering a lot, at this time of year, about Jesus and his family ?

Many of my thoughts are about Mary, how she gave birth to Jesus, and also raised him. I think of her as she fed him, watched him learn to walk, washed his clothes, and did all the things that moms do for their children.

As a grandmother, I also remember that Jesus had grandparents. Mary’s parents were Ann and Joachim. Most protestant Christians are not familiar with them, but they are part of Catholic tradition. We remember that tradition transmitted the faith long before the Bible was written.

I was reading a very interesting post the other day about the book of Hebrews, and I remembered that this book of the Bible narrowly escaped being removed from the Bible by Martin Luther, who discarded other parts of the traditional Catholic Bible.

It has been 12 months since I started blogging.

It has been very satisfying, especially reading your inspirational posts.

I hope you have enjoyed learning a bit about Newfoundland, surely one of the friendliest places on the planet !

It is also my prayer that perhaps I have helped to create a bit more unity amongst everyone.

This is my last blog post of the year.

I wish you all a blessed and holy Christmas Season.

He Knows You Best

Do you have a favourite song or piece of music ? Yes, I know it’s hard to choose just one, since so many of us enjoy lots of music.

I asked my husband what his favourite song was while we were enjoying pancakes and blueberries for breakfast.

He said it was ‘Hotel California’, by the Eagles. I said that this was a confusing song. He agreed, but said he liked it anyway !

I asked him if he knew what my favourite piece of music was. He confessed that he did not.

I told him that it was ‘Ave Verum Corpus’, written by Mozart in 1791. He said that he didn’t know that piece of music.

Later, I showed my husband a YouTube video of ‘Ave Verum Corpus’, sung by the King’s College, Cambridge choir.

He liked it, and said it reminded him of when he was in a boys’ choir !

Even after 45 years of marriage, my husband and I do not know everything about each other. However, God knows all about us, and loves us all intimately. Even before we speak, God already knows what we are going to say. (Psalm 139:4)

Let us rejoice at the coming of the Lord, and let us remember why he came. He came to offer us the free gift of salvation and eternal life.

Temptation

Do you ever wonder why the Lord’s Prayer says : ‘lead us not into temptation’? God does not tempt anyone, as James 1:13 states.

However, God does allow us to get ourselves into certain tempting situations, to let us see how we will respond.

Our little town, like most small places, has a problem with people gossiping. Gossip, here, at the edge of the sea, is known as ‘Scuttlebutt’. There are two main Scuttlebutt centres, and they are divided along gender lines.

Men, wishing to hear the latest ‘scoop’, go to the garage/ auto body shop.

For women, Scuttlebutt is exchanged at the Beauty Salon.

It takes two to indulge in the sin of gossip: the gossiper and the listener.

Although the hair stylist is only a short walk from my house, I quickly learned that by going there, I would need to listen to gossip, while I sat captive in a chair with wet hair and a plastic cape draped around me.

So I made a decision to avoid this centre and drive an hour and a half to a salon in a larger centre.

God rewarded my decision to not be involved in other people’s business.

The salon he led me to is a fantastic place ! It is beautifully decorated, and has flattering lighting and soft music playing. The stylists are talented and highly trained. Clients are offered a warm towel for around the neck, refreshments are offered, and, importantly, conversation is pleasant, and neutral.

The scalp massage offered by my kind stylist is, in itself, worth the drive to this place of soothing pampering. I emerge from the salon happy, relaxed, and thankful that I have not been a victim of listening to business that does not concern me.

We are all unique, and our areas of weakness are known to God. Every time we willingly choose to be strong in a tempting situation, God smiles, and our relationship with the Lord grows closer.

In the Christmas season, many of us will visit a hair salon to prepare for the holidays. Let us pray for hair stylists in their work of helping to care for us.

And may God give us the grace to resist indulging in harmful ‘Scuttlebutt’.

The Truth and Exile

Do you agree that it is wrong for someone who is telling the truth to be arrested and sent into exile ?

This is what happened to Anaxagoras, the Greek Philosopher who announced, 2,500 years ago, that the moon had no light of its own, but reflected the light of the sun. People, up until then, had believed that the moon was a god.

It had been cloudy here for a few days, and I thought that I wouldn’t see this month’s full moon over the ocean. However, last night the clouds disappeared for awhile, and there it was, the last full moon of the decade !

Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, so Christians also reflect the light of “the Son”, Jesus.

Let us pray for the grace to continue to reflect his love to a hurting world.

Healthy Aging Tip

Do you smile easily and laugh a lot ? It is one of the ways to age gracefully. Laughter is good medicine, and I try to surround myself with people who also love to laugh. At my age, in retirement, I have the luxury of avoiding negative people.

Putting a smile on our faces makes us all look younger, but smiles are best when they are genuine.

My husband still works part-time at a medical clinic, and, as flu season has started, he is away more, and today I thought it would be good to walk uptown to replenish our supply of tea towels. I went to ‘Riffs’, a Department Store that carries everything from refrigerators to baby clothes.

The tea towels all looked very boring, but, being determined, I rummaged through the piles until I found some funny ones made of Indian cotton.

They made me smile, so I bought them. Why be cranky when you can choose to see the humour of life everywhere ?

Let us ask God for the grace to develop cheerful hearts. Joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Kintsugi and Trauma

Do you sometimes buy Christmas presents for yourself ?

I bought myself this mug, as it is a representation of Kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art form that reminds us that there can be beauty in brokenness.

Originating in 15th Century Japan, broken pieces of precious pottery are repaired using gold dust and resin. The gold pattern results in the broken item becoming even more precious and beautiful.

Examples of Kintsugi art are on display at many museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in NYC. Numerous photos of this art form are found on the internet as well. My mug, however, has not been broken, it just has a “Kintsugi” pattern on it.

It reminds me that I am a survivor of clergy abuse and cover-up, that devastated my family and my parish. I have survived, and my scars remain, and it is best to try accept them as a part of the person I have become.

Christmas is a particularly tender time for survivors of clergy abuse, since we spend more time thinking about church, and the fact that we expect healing, and not hurt from our churches.

However, that is why Christ came; he came to heal a broken world and offer salvation to souls. He cares for us, and loves us all, and he, who was himself betrayed, understands the pain of betrayal.

She Said Yes

Do you remember the reasons why you started to blog ?

My reasons were to tell you about funny and fabulous Newfoundland, and to encourage greater unity amongst Christians.

When Christians insult each other, it grieves God, and it confuses unbelievers. Let us always show ourselves to be people of love.

It seems that at Christmas, we see greater unity, as Mary is mentioned more, even by groups that generally ignore her for the rest of the year. Many churches will have Christmas pageants, and ‘Mary’ will always be there.

Mary agreed to become the mother of our Lord, even though she knew that this would be socially very difficult for her.

She nurtured Jesus, comforted him throughout his childhood, and stood with him at the cross.

Mary became the Lord’s first disciple, and was in the upper room at Pentecost. She deserves our respect.

A friend, who is originally from China, asked me if I was Protestant or Catholic.

I told her that neither of those words appear in the Bible, but the word ‘Christian’ does. (Acts 11:26)

And so, I identify simply as ‘Christian’

I wish you a blessed Holy Season, and let us pray for the grace to become increasingly united in our love of Jesus.