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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wow. All before 8 am.

There are only two good things about having to feed Charlotte in the middle of the night,
  1. She falls back to sleep immediately.
  2. The Holy Spirit yells at me.

Tonight’s feeding gave me great peace and the grace to write about it here.

I have been feeling so much pressure lately. First financial pressure: pay off that debt, save that money, live like retired folks, and still have enough money to get through the month. None of these will happen for a long time and we even have trouble with just getting through the month and breaking even.

And then there’s that motherly pressure to successfully cook, clean, discipline, and educate, with enough time to still enjoy the 2 small ones I care for daily.

Even more now is the pressure of Advent, mainly from the blogging community, to prepare and celebrate a certain way.

In October and November, I began thinking about our Christmas traditions and how I wanted them to be different this year, with much less emphasis on Santa and commercialism and much more on the preparation and remembrance of Christ’s birth and awaited second coming. But as we began Advent, I got this nagging feeling of guilt, which was not of God, for not doing enough and I started to question that the things I enjoy, (putting up the Christmas tree, listening to Christmas music, and watching Christmas movies) were in some way keeping me from experiencing a holy Advent.

Maybe this pressure came internally, but much of it comes from the world. We hold standards for ourselves and for each other and sometimes those are well intentioned, but sometimes they create impossible expectations. Only we can discern what we’re asked to give and do for God.

Thankfully He is much kinder than the world. Yes, He asks us to give a lot – but only what we have, no more and no less. And our ability to even give comes from His grace – let us not forget this as we pat ourselves on the back for giving or doing ‘a lot’ by our own standards. I challenge us to take a break from patting ourselves on the back or beating ourselves up. Let’s take a look at our life this season, are we ready for Christ to come? If our hearts are in the right place, whether or not we put up that Advent wreath or Jesse tree, we’re ready.

Thank you, Lord, for Your forgiveness and the sacrament of confession, which brought me such peace. And thank you Jesus, for the two coins I have to give. May it please You and humble me. 

Luke 21:1-4
And this penance from Fr. John, Matthew 6:25-34

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