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Will The Christ Child Come?


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 31/12/2012

One Christmas we had an interesting experience that I would like to share. Halfway through December we were doing the regular evening things when there was a knock at the door. We opened it to find a small package with a beautiful ceramic lamb inside. We looked at the calendar and realized that the twelve days of Christmas were beginning! We waited excitedly for the next night’s surprise and only then, with the gift of a matching shepherd, did we realized that the lamb was part of a nativity set. Each night we grew more excited to see what piece we would receive. Each was exquisitely beautiful. The children kept trying to catch the givers as we slowing built the scene at the manager and began to focus on Christ’s birth.On Christmas Eve, all the pieces were in place, but the Baby Jesus. My 12 year-old son really wanted to catch our benefactors and began to devise all kinds of ways to trap them. He ate his dinner in the mini-van watching and waiting, but no one came. Finally we called him in to go through our family’s Christmas Eve traditions. But before the children went to bed we checked the front step — No Baby Jesus! Somehow something was missing that Christmas Eve. There was a feeling that things weren’t complete. The children went to bed and I put out Christmas, but before I went to bed I again checked to see if the Baby Jesus had come — no, the doorstep was empty. Missing that piece of the set seemed to have an odd effect. At least it changed my focus. I knew there were presents under the tree for me and I was excited to watch the children open their gifts, but first on my mind was the feeling of waiting for the ceramic Christ Child. We had opened just about all of the presents when one of the children found one more for me buried deep beneath the branches of the tree. He handed me a small package from a former parishioner. This lady used to come to Church now and again. She had no family and she didn’t get many gifts to open, so I had always given her a small package – new dish towels, a good book – not much, but something for her to open. I was touched when at Church on the day before Christmas, she had given me this small package, saying it was just a token of her love and appreciation. As I took off the ribbon, I remembered my friendship with her and was filled with gratitude for knowing her and for her kindness in giving me a gift. But as the paper fell away, I began to tremble and cry. There in the small brown box was the Baby Jesus. He had come! I realized on that Christmas Day that Christ will come into our lives in ways that we don’t expect. The spirit of Christ comes into our hearts as we serve one another. We had waited and watched for him to come, expecting the dramatic “knock at the door and scurrying of feet” but he came in a small, simple package that represented service, friendship, gratitude, and love. This experience taught me that the beginning of the true spirit of Christmas comes as we open our hearts and actively focus on the Saviour. More than that I want to open my heart to him all year that I may see him again.

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The Best Gift of All


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 23/12/2012

It was nearing the holiday season in Rumania, time for our orphans to hear, for the first time, the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, they went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger. Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word. Completing the story, we gave the children many things to build their own manger. The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project. As I looked at the little boy’s manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the boy why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately – until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger. Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, “And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don’t have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn’t, because I didn’t have a gift to give him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift. So I asked Jesus, ‘If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift?’ And Jesus told me, ‘If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me.’ So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me I could stay with him – for always.” As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon him, someone who would stay with him – for always. I’ve learned that it’s not what you have in your life, but who you have in your life that counts.

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Lenten Retreat Mass


by Fr. Andrew Pastore on 20/12/2012

Picking up on the theme of the Retreat in the World, these early lenten masses give a chance to reflect in the candle lit Shrine.

Mass is followed by tea and toast for those heading straight to work or school.

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Lenten Retreat Mass


by Fr. Andrew Pastore on 20/12/2012

Picking up on the theme of the Retreat in the World, these early lenten masses give a chance to reflect in the candle lit Shrine.

Mass is followed by tea and toast for those heading straight to work or school.

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Lenten Retreat Mass


by Fr. Andrew Pastore on 20/12/2012

Picking up on the theme of the Retreat in the World, these early lenten masses give a chance to reflect in the candle lit Shrine.

Mass is followed by tea and toast for those heading straight to work or school.

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Lenten Retreat Mass


by Fr. Andrew Pastore on 20/12/2012

Picking up on the theme of the Retreat in the World, these early lenten masses give a chance to reflect in the candle lit Shrine.

Mass is followed by tea and toast for those heading straight to work or school.

Reactions
to this post
0

Lenten Retreat Mass


by Fr. Andrew Pastore on 20/12/2012

Picking up on the theme of the Retreat in the World, these early lenten masses give a chance to reflect in the candle lit Shrine.

Mass is followed by tea and toast for those heading straight to work or school.

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