To be called "simple" is not usually a compliment. Yet one dictionary defines the word as meaning plain, honest and intelligible. So maybe it's not such a bad thing to be. Nevertheless, somehow we feel suspicious when something seems too simple. "Where is the catch?" we ask ourselves. It is almost as though we need some elaborate complexities before we can accept it.
Jesus understood this human weakness very well. Throughout his life he used simple illustrations to reveal God's plans. He used the corn, a relaxed meal with friends, fishing and wine-making, so vividly and effectively. Yet the Scribes and Pharisees constantly asked, "What's the catch?" each time they encountered him.
Simplicity is at the heart of Christ's message, "Your heavenly Father loves you as you are", no strings, no catch. Even if we turn away or do not believe this, he still loves us.
During the weeks of Advent, we listen to many rousing prophecies about the coming of the Messiah. At the end of this season we are presented with a little baby. The baby Jesus might appear too simple a solution to the problems of God's people. "What's the catch?" we may ask.
Christ's birth is the celebration of the great Emmanuel (God is with us) mystery. And God is with us so that we may know that we are infinitely loveable. To come as a baby was his first and greatest lesson to us, for it teaches us the most important lessons of all about God's attitude towards us.
A child is full of freshness and trusting love. Its eyes are to the future - to growing up. Unspoilt by prejudice or bitterness, each child is a new beginning. A child's loving confidence can make the greatest villain think again, and it can bring new life to the old and weary.
But the greatest lesson is one which we have all experienced when we have stretched out a tentative finger to a new baby - he or she grasps it with an uncanny strength. Stretch out just one finger to the Lord this Christmas and he will take strong hold of you for as long as you let him.
© Liguori Publications
Excerpt from Advent - A Quality Storecupboard The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer
The word Advent derives from the Latin word meaning coming. The Lord is coming. We may reflect that every year at this time we celebrate his coming , so that in a sense we can lose the feeling of expectancy and joyful anticipation, because at the end of the season, everything seems to return to pretty much the same routine. If that is the case, then our preparation may have been lacking ... continue reading
To become the mother of the Savior, Mary "was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role."132 The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of grace". In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace... continue reading
A surprised Mary is afraid
A perplexed Mary is confused
An astonished Mary is faithful
Making a difficult Journey
Facing difficult circumstances
The Fruit of Thy Womb...
The Angel's Visit
The conversation with Joseph
The Visit to Elizabeth
God speaks to Adam
Isaiah speaks to Israel
An Angel Speaks to Joseph
Watched from Heaven
Watched from Darkness
Watched by Man
Not just any child
Not just any destiny
Not just any result
The weeks of Advent remind us to set aside some of the hectic business of the holiday season, and to quietly reflect on the promise of the baby born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. The Bible readings listed below relate to the Advent themes of waiting, preparation, light in the darkness, and the coming of the promised Messiah. continue reading
Establish a Tradition
Involve Everyone, all ages
Open your door to others
The message of Christmas is that
the visible material world is bound to the
invisible spiritual world.
Great cultures Celebrate Christ
Gift Giving is Universal
Great Stories and Quotes