Advent Reflections – December 15, 2015

Willing to Make Sacrifices for Others: Real Life

Real life is full of opportunities for sacrifice. Because of the sinful nature of human beings, we operate on with a “me first” mentality. When we make a sacrifice for a loved one, or anyone really, we are putting that person before ourselves, before any selfish or prideful desires. These sacrifices can be small – think about letting someone merge before you next time you are in traffic (with a smile on your face). Or, they can be more significant – would you consider giving a full tithe of your income to support your church (biblically, a tithe is 10% of your earnings – before taxes now, we are talking first fruits here)?

Sacrifices can also be less tangible, such as the sacrifice of time. You could choose to stay home, warm and comfortable and watch a football game. Or, you can volunteer to ring a bell by a red bucket for  a Sunday afternoon in the cold with the Salvation Army, collecting donations for the poor of your community.

I know that traditionally Lent is the season for sacrifices, but as we approach the last days of Advent, consider what you might sacrifice or give up to better prepare your heart for the coming of Christ. After all, at Christmas Jesus isn’t just born in the stable. If we let Him, He would be born in our hearts.

What is one sacrifice you could make that will help you better prepare for the coming of Christ in just a few days?

Advent Reflections – December 13, 2015

Willing to Make Sacrifices for Others: Mary in Scripture

The thing about choices is that by choosing to walk down one path I have to necessarily reject or sacrifice whatever lay down the opposing path. When Mary was visited by Gabriel, she had two choices. By choosing her fiat, her yes to God, Mary was at that same moment saying “no” to the hopes and dreams she had envisioned for her life.

Mary was a young girl, recently betrothed to Joseph. Just as any couple just starting out, they must have had plans for the future. Maybe growing Joseph’s business, assisting their parents and other relatives, participating in upcoming pilgrimages to Jerusalem, etc. Mary’s participation in God’s creative plan meant sacrificing other dreams she (and Joseph to an extent) might have had. Her trust and obedience to God allowed her to let go of the life she dreamt she would lead. Her love for God, and by extension her love for Jesus, gave her the strength she needed for such a sacrifice. The life that God had in store was beyond her wildest imaginings.

Can you think of a time you sacrificed something out of love for another person? Did it change you in any way?

Advent Reflections – December 12, 2015

Before starting this reflection, I would be remiss not to recognize today’s beautiful feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. May La Virgen Morena watch over us and keep us safe.

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Willing to Make Sacrifices for Others: The Reality of Motherhood

Motherhood in its physical sense is a powerful force of nature. When a woman discovers she is carrying life within her, she is filled with two competing emotions: joy and fear. She is joyful, in awe of the creation that is growing within her. And she is fearful, because she knows that the fulfillment of this growth is a painful birth.

Fortunately for the human race, the fear of childbirth is one of the first sacrifices a mother makes for her child. She sacrifices that fear in order to give her child life. Motherhood is full of such sacrifices, though not all of them on such a grand scale.

A mother sacrifices the music she would like to listen to in favor of her child’s request. She going to lunch with a friend to stay home with a sick teenager. She flies across the country to help her daughter deal with the realities of deployment, sacrificing time and events with her spouse and other children. She denies wanting the last piece of pie.

The sacrificial spirit of motherhood is a spirit of giving. Each sacrifice that a mother makes becomes a gift for the person she loves. Gifts of time, of attention, of life, even of pie.

Who do I make sacrifices for? What is one thing I can sacrifice so that someone else will benefit?