Many homes in my area have already decorated for the holidays. It’s so nice to see the outside adorn with pine garlands, Christmas wreaths, and lights.
After being pestered by our children to decorate for Christmas, my husband finally took out our artificial tree and several boxes of decorations.
As my daughter and I decorated the tree, I shared with her the stories behind some of our ornaments. There were “Baby’s First Christmas” bells and balls, to their first kindergarten Christmas crafts, to their own collection (my husband’s best shopping day is Black Friday and Boxing Day. He delighted in a yearly trek amidst the crowd to let them chose a decoration for their own collection – at 50% off). There were also decorations gifted by my mother-in-law, as well as decorations to Meimei from her aunt.
It’s touching to see our children decorating their rooms this year. They wanted to personalize their room with their own decorations.
For many, it will be the first Christmas alone or with the immediate family. We normally travel to Toronto to see my side of the family, but due to Covid-19 restrictions we are not traveling. My side of the family decided to keep it simple, and we’ll have a zoom gathering on Christmas Day.
In Montreal, Christmas has changed in the past few years. We live in an age of political correctness. Christmas is now refer to as the “Holiday Season”. Festive window decorations in stores are a thing of the past.
There was a sense of wonderment when children watched the mechanical display. I use to bring my children to see this display after the Santa Claus parade.
Since the onset of Covid-19, one of the things I miss most is going downtown. I have fond memories of walking along the main streets to look at all the colourful Christmas lights.
My husband and I have always focused on the birth of Jesus at Christmas. Pre Covid-19 Christmas Eve, we would attend Candlelight service and sing hymns.
This year most churches will have a limited seating capacity of 25. Most have adapted to COVID-19 restrictions and will use zoom or live stream to celebrate the birth of Christ. I pray that all of you will be able to celebrate Christmas via one of these technological platforms.
Today as we live and adapt to new norms, I find we need to create our own Christmas tradition. A tradition that embraces and envelopes those around us in love and peace. After so many years of celebrating Christmas with the family, we are kind of forced to isolate. We shouldn’t let this stop us from sharing with one another. We can text, zoom, email, or call someone on the phone. We can use snail mail and send a card. I think the important thing is to not leave anyone out.
I really appreciate my neighbours decorating early this year. They drew me into their warmth. This helped create the mood in me to decorate and celebrate. My neighbours added to the Christmas ambiance by sharing their joy and love of the season. I think this is the most precious part of this year’s Christmas – sharing the peace and love of Christmas with one another with a festive heart.
I’m embarrassed to show my watercolours, as they are often quick ink sketches. They are like journal entries, expressing of my thoughts about Jesus and my relationship with Him.
They are also about finding hope in Christ in our lost humanity. His Salvation and Glory is free. All we need to do is accept it as Zaccheus (Luke 19: 1-10) did.
Jesus died for the mankind’s original sin (The Fall of Man in Genesis 3) so that we may be redeemed if we believe in Him. When I think about His death on the cross, I am thankful that an unworthy sinner like me can be forgiven all my sins. I thank God for letting me draw closer to Him.
In return I send praises to my Almighty God, to Jesus the Son, and to the Holy Spirit for giving me the gift of faith. I, in turn, share my faith with all of you.
That each of you find the time to pray and draw into a closer relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
This week the “The Parable of the Talents” surfaced a number of times for me. It was discussed in a book I was reading, upon which I looked it up in the Bible (Matthew 25:14-30). It was also the Gospel reading in both yesterday’s and today’s Mass.
Three times the charm so to speak! What is God trying to tell me?
Needless to say, this parable was on my mind.
Who am I in this parable? Am I the one with the 5 talent? Am I the one with the two Talent? Or am I the one with 1 talent?
After praying on this Parable and rereading 3 different interpretations of it (NASB, Passion, and the NRSV) I can discern many different ways to look at this verse – from the standpoint of popular financial management to the more profane and spiritual.
But what does this parable say to me specifically?
I believe God is asking me, as well as all of us, to step out and use my/our “gifts” in praising and serving Him.
God knows us, and He will never give us more than we can handle. To those who can take on more, He will give more responsibility, but the fact remains, God does not want us passive and living in fear.
What skills or gifts?
In my case it could be through writing, my art, or my ability to time manage or multitask. It could be through the simple act of giving donations to your Parish or your Church.
Many local churches along with parishes are having a hard time financially especially in light of the restrictions imposed by the government due to COVID-19. Many parish, like mine have laid off staff, yet despite all these challenges, Gods work is being done. That’s thanks to volunteers who serve God and their community with love.
In many neighborhoods many families have been hit hard financially especially in the service industry or restaurants. Giving groceries to your local church and parish will allow them to send out food baskets to those in need. This is much needed as we head into December and the holiday season.
Believe me when I tell you receiving a food basket makes a difference to a family in need. 10 years ago my husband lost his job, and we were in deep financial difficulties. We were at rock bottom. A stranger from an organization sent us 2 bags of groceries along with gifts for our children. It was one of the most touching and humbling experiences in my life. I remember praying in thanksgiving to God. Sometimes it’s only when we experience pain, that we can see the salvation of Jesus. Nothing could contain my tears.
Gods immense love for us in the Holy sacrifice of His Son Jesus – a man who was sinless and divinely perfect – is a mystery many may never fully comprehend. I am unworthy, yet God calls me and you to his presence. He gives us the freedom to decide if we want to be a part of His family or not – how can I not shout with happiness and joy.
I have the freedom to chose. I can do do nothing, like that man with 1 talent, or I can be proactive and use all the skills and gifts I gave to glorify Him and make a difference.
We all have talents – whether it be the art of story telling, teaching, blogging, or something in the creative field in web design, painting, drawing, or photography. Then there are those with musical talents who can sing like an angel. Some are musically inclined, while others have talents in other areas. Cooking is another skill, one I wish I had. I do try cooking up a meal using Pinterest, but somehow it’s never as tasty as my sister-in-law’s cooking. Of course there are other skills like being able to manage time, multitasking, or use a computer. Some have the talent to make money through their investments. The skills and gifts we have is unique and different from one another.
There are also many of us who possess skills we may not be aware of. Why? We never challenged ourselves to step out of our comfort zone. I bet many of us have skills burrowed within us – and not yet actualized.
God calls for us to use our gifts.
So what does the “Parable of the Talents” mean to me? It means showing how much I love God in all that I do, whether it be in writing, making a meal for the family, or stepping out of my comfort zone to show kindness and love to my family, my neighbours, my Parish community, my colleagues and the people around me. It is to make that 1 talent double, triple and grow by using the gifts I have with a sincere heart to glorify God – My Master!
The Parable of the Talents
14“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15to one he gave five talents,[f] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matthew 25:14-30 NRSV
Aside: Basically we give and help where we can. My son asked me if we were having take-out tonight. For a family of four that’s almost $75 plus. I told him instead of take out, I’ve donated the amount to our local parish. Seeing his disgruntled face, I explained to him I could cook a meal. I furthered explain, how would it look if God were to ask me, “what did I spend on this month?”
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39Passion Edition
Nothing can separate me from Jesus! I believe! No matter how chaotic our world is, or burdened we are, we have salvation through Jesus.
We are not the first of His people to face tribulations, distress or persecution – it’s part of the history of mankind and it’s not about to change.
I can live each day with the knowledge, belief, and assurance – nothing can separate me from my (our) Saviour Jesus.
I can imagine how this statement must have given the early Christians much strength. It was during a time of great upheavals and prosecution of Christians. This statement comes from Psalms 44:22 – Paul’s draws from this verse (Psalms) to reassure Early Christians. Nothing can separate them “from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” even in the most difficult times.
I believe – is the self realization in my own shortcomings of my limited human understanding. To believe is to be humbled by the knowledge that my humanity leads to a venerability – an innate understanding that there is something unseen that I cannot comprehend, nor necessarily articulate – that is greater than (i). It is an inner knowingness of something unseen. It is an inexplicable trust in the great “I Am”.
Yes, I’ve been asking myself these fundamental questions (back to basics) as I explore my own conversion – My Catholic Life (book). I re- examine basic principles of faith, prayer and contemplation of God’s word, and as I ask myself – “What do I believe?”
14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” Exodus 3:14 NKJ
This verse totally floored me. It’s Truth humbled me speechless – it is a simple statement, yet profound and deep!
Hence, I believe is a heart felt emotion that transcends logical explanation or understanding. It is an awareness in an absolute truth. I believe in God’s abundant love for me, in His Son Jesus. Just as I believe in the Holiness of the Virgin Mary. These are unexplainable but heartfelt Truths.
Knowing this gives me great comfort and joy that nothing can separate me from God’s unconditionally love for us. His sincere and pure sacrifice of His Son Jesus for my (our) salvation!
I pray in humbled thankfulness.
Wow! Sorry if my ramblings seem all over the page. I just feel this need to shout it out…thank you for taking part in this journey into my walk with Jesus with me. In my walk I celebrate the heartfelt joy as I get to know Jesus more. I am moved to the depth of my soul – to tears.
Expressing my thoughts and journey in a blog let’s me share this with my tech savvy children via text message. It is also my legacy to them.
For my children – a song from U2 (who is U2 they will ask? “Ask your Dad”, I’ll tell them:
This has been a difficult post for me to write. It is based on the hand of God moving me to speak out – and to stop being a wimpy Christian – and to tell it as it is.
My heart has been a bit grieved with my walk as a Christian lately. I feel there is something missing in my Christian life. I yearn for depth, and God has been guiding me to look deeper – beyond the feel good verses.
It is also about a growing understanding of Catholicism (the beginning of my journey), and the meaning behind the Rosary, of being a woman, of the importance of family, and of our place and role in the world. It is also an awareness of the many prejudices I’ve held about “religion” as opposed to having a “personal” relationship with God. Ignorance begets intolerance.
I acknowledge I am very disillusioned by popular Christianity. I am also disappointed in Christian leaders who are more interested in amassing a following – “like” culture than in the spiritual well being for their members. I am especially disappointed in these mainstream leaders for not standing for truth, especially in light of what’s been going on in the U.S. – a country I don’t even live in. I am disgusted by corrupt politicians and politics, and I am just as disgusted by main stream media that supports it all. Fake news is real, just as evil is all around us.
Trust me when I say our Canadian political landscape is no better. Corruption and evilness spans across the globe.
Evangelical Christian leaders are too wimpy to address the really deeply rooted problems in our world – especially social or political ones. We live in a world ridden with social self indulgent, “like” and cancel culture. If we don’t agree or conform to the popular narrative, we are look down upon and ostracized – much like Jesus our Messiah was by the Pharisees of His time.
Lukewarm Christianity focuses on getting more “likes” through feel good sermons with the goals of attracting a mega fellowing through their social media platforms. The internet makes all this available and profitable – YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Using social media platforms – Spiritual teaching becomes a feel good quasi meditative/spirit culture.
I have become quiet aggrieved by my mainstream Evangelical Christian brothers and sisters. Their teachings only scratches the surface. It lacks the depth and a profound understanding of Spirituality, Biblical dogma, and history.
As a believer of God, there are fundamentals that as a Christian I absolutely do not and cannot support – abortion, corruption, lies and all that is evil in this world. This can’t be whitewashed. Yes, it’s not for me to judge, and we are all sinners and fall short of God’s Glory. However, I do not and will not support the lies and hypocrisy that is blatantly put out there by a power hungry mainstream media and social media.
The story of the the Samaria woman by the well (John 4:1-42) in many ways mirror the problem of our world today. Both Jesus and the woman are marginalized by their respective communities, Jesus by the Jews and Pharisees, and the Samaria woman by her ethnic group.
Through her conversations with Jesus by the well, the Samaria woman is “awoken” to The Truth (Red-pilled). The Truth – Salvation is only possible through Jesus. He is the Messiah.
She is also “red pilled”- discovers that Jesus’ love is boundless – neither her status as a divorced woman, nor her ethnic/race, or social status is an obstacle to Gods love. Furthermore the woman was so touched by Jesus, she ran back and shared her new revelation to her people.
What does this story mean to me? Well, all narratives that creates division leads to animosity and chaos. “To divide is to conquer” Julius Caesar, Machiavelli, Napoleon, King Louis XI of France, and the British Empire all used a divide and conquer strategy. Leftish ideology also uses this guerrilla tactic.
As a Christian, I can’t take the middle ground and be complacent. I can’t sit on the fence and exist in ignorance. I have been “red-pilled”.
We live in a culture that is being pushed by the Left. This ideology is not on par with God’s Truth. Leftist (socialist and communist) ideology, eugenics, abortion, subjective truth, sexual immorality, gender identity, race identity, and corruption are not Gods way. Disagreements with this narrative mean – cancel culture.
We need be like the Samaria woman and be enthusiastic. Share the good news and the Truth. Like Jesus, stand up for all that is just, pure and sincere, and rebuke all that is dark and ungodly.
I want to stand up for Truth and for God!
I don’t want to be a part of the quick fix spiritual club. The Bible is more than feel good mantras.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:13-15 ESV
Believing in God – Active Trust in God
We are not sheep’s who cannot discern who our Master is.
Gods hand has been moving me to speak out and to be proactive. Pray for my nation. Pray for my world. Pray for humanity! Fight for Truth! He has moved me – a girl brought up in a Pentecostal family to “Pray the Rosary”. The Holy Spirit has moved me to pray with a pure heart and sincerity.
He has guided me to explore more deeply how our prayers are our Spiritual Weapon against all that is unclean and evil.
I dug up three crosses I had in storage and my husband put them up for me around the house. God is moving me to be silent no more!
“I Am Alpha And Omega, The Beginning And The Ending,” saith the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. Revelation 1:8 KJV
What a wonderful attestation!
I was feeling lazy today especially as it snowed last night and it’s a bit cold outside. I was enjoying the cozy comfort of home, and really had to make an effort to go out.
From the many sound of children’s laughter in the park enjoying the first snow, to the dotted footprints in the snow, and the sun shining its warm rays, I felt the presence of God. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
In my journey call life, He was with me in the beginning, He was with me in the past, He is with me now, and He will be with me in the future.
Today, I just want to offer up a prayer for all of humanity, especially my brother and sisters in Christ in the U.S.A. I pray for the Hand of God to be upon all Christians regardless of denomination or creed – May my fellow Christians have the strength to stand against the darkness that looms over them in the U.S.A., as well as for those of us in other countries. I pray for protection for those of you who are facing challenges for your belief in the truth, and for believing in what is right and just, and, as you stand in solidarity for Jesus.
I pray to God to open the hearts and minds of those who do not know you. May your breath of life open their hearts to see and awaken from the dark veil that blinds them.
Finally I pray the Lords Prayer:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
My favourite season is Fall, especially when it’s sunny and the skies are a beautiful shade of cyan blue. The air is fresh, and even though it’s a bit nippy, with a warm jacket, a scarf and boots, I feel snuggly warm.
I used walking the dog as an excuse to get my 14 year old to accompany me. Like every teenager, she delights in staying in bed until 11:00 am on weekends. After some insistence along with the promise she can chill and have a lazy Saturday, she agreed.
I love the sight of leaves falling. It creates a breathtakingly beautiful backdrop of yellows, ochre, red and rust. Although all the trees in my neighbourhood are starting to look bare, there is a silent understanding that God’s hand is the maestro behind the intricate design – the masterpiece is called life. For me, it is the profound realization and sense of awesomeness that it is God’s majesty.
God is the Breathe of Life
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2: 7
I imagine God’s Breath of life upon my birth. This understanding gives me great joy – life is wonderful because God’s Breath (Holy Spirit) was within us from the very beginning.
The realization we all start with God’s Breathe at the onset makes me realize that it’s our choice whether we remain close to Him or not. God’s Breath is free.
I pray to God in thanksgiving for your grace and love. You gave each of us Your Breath of life.
I pray your Holy Spirit continue to guide me throughout my day – filling it with an inner happiness. It is an attestation that life is wonderful.
I pray for those who for whatever reason do not have Your Breath of life. I pray the Holy Spirit opens their heart and fill them with Your abundant Breath, that they may experience the joys in knowing you.
High above the earth we will gaze into our Lords eyes, and be comforted.
The time to prepare is now.
As this day draws near, Lord guide me to talk to those around me. Let me sing and shout with joy, “Jesus is coming soon.” “Get ready!”
The time to put my to my house in order is now!
Family! Friends! Strangers!
Jesus forgive me for all my sins past and present. Most of all, help me recall the sins I have forgotten.
I pray that the hand of Jesus is upon each of us, as we prepare for the return of Jesus. I feel in my heart the time is near – days, months – it is very soon.
Am I ready? Yes! I want to be with Jesus! I worry about my children and husband, and I pray for God to open their hearts so that they can be guided by the Holy Spirit.
Trust in Jesus.
I remember as a youth asking Jesus to come into my life, and since that moment, He has never left my side. He has guided me throughout the course of my life. There were many times I didn’t listen to Him and went astray. God has always guided me back. He is the Shepard and takes care of his herd. God has always placed people along with serendipitous situations in my life and guided me back. I am continuously awakened by the Hand of God – to walk the path of His light and not fall onto the path of the wicked.
5.Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
I lift my prayer to you today so that you can open my mind and heart to your will. In the coming days show me all the sins that I’ve forgotten so that I can repent each and every wrong I’ve committed. Let my sins be cleansed with the blood of Jesus.
I pray for my loved ones. I pray for The hand of God to open their hearts and mind. That in the coming two days they will feel your Holy Spirit awakening them to your love and grace.
Jesus, I pray that no loved one is left behind.
I also pray for those around me – friends, colleagues, acquaintances and strangers. I pray for my nation. I pray for my world. Please open all hearts to Jesus. Awaken all to walk towards the Light of God.
Please help me reach out to them with sincerity and love through this blog, through my words.
It’s not too late!
Out of the depth I call to you, Lord God hear my prayer!
After writing this blog post, in my quiet time with God, I was directed to this verse:
In Christ Jesus, we are
being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. Colossians 1:11 EVS
I am given the strength by God to endure my day with joy in my heart. I praise God for his mercy and everlasting love for me. Let me give thanks to God.
I pray for those who have caused me pain. I pray dear Lord that you let me put these people behind me. That I move beyond the hurt, and walk in joy and freedom. I pray for blessings upon who have hurt me. I pray that you may open their hearts to the joy of our Lord Jesus.
Praise be to God!
Amen, Amen, Amen!
The above study arose out of my quiet time with the Churchome app.