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Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Keep Christ in Christmas: Trusting in your Awkward Fiats

"I’m participating in the KEEP CHRIST in CHRISTMAS Blog Link-Up 2013

sponsored by the Catholic Bloggers Network.

Be sure to visit as many links as possible,

listed at the bottom of this post.

Trusting in Your Awkward Fiats

“Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain,to the house of the God of Jacob,

that he may instruct us in his ways,

and we may walk in his paths.”

It is Advent!  What is your plan for you and your family?  What sort of prayers will you say? What gifts of charity will you prepare for the Christ child?  How will you awaken wonder and awe for the first coming of Christ in yourself and your family? How will this Advent make His voice more recognizable to you and your children, so that you are prepared for His second coming in glory, so that you can alert others? What part of the secular celebrations will you take part in, what will you let go of?

Are you overwhelmed yet?

Last year a popular blogger asked her readers to share epic Advent failures.  I have had a few of those myself. What I have discovered is that, when I persevere in family prayer, even my epic Advent failures have produced fruit, though I did not know it at the time.

One year, in addition to the traditional prayers and hymns around our Advent wreath, I wrapped an empty box for Baby Jesus that the children were to fill with little slips of paper describing their hidden acts of kindness and charity.  They were gifts for Baby Jesus.  Within in a week it was tattered and torn, shoved to the back of a shelf. I presumed it was already forgotten in the flurry of activities. Epic Advent Fail!

But on Christmas Day I opened it and to my surprise, it was full of little slips of paper, mostly written by my Junior High aged children.  I had forgotten to "promote" or "hype' that activity, but the children knew it was there.  They did not need me to make it exciting and fun, they needed me to open the door to Him.  How did I open the door?  Through our family prayers and Scripture readings.

In fact, a few years later that Christmas was bought up. That activity had placed a seed in one particular child's heart that has begun to grow; it is still remembered.  The gifts he received that year are completely forgotten, the gift of awakening to Christ's coming was still in his heart.  Let me remind you, that activity was one I considered and Epic Advent Fail!

In reality, it was not the activity so much as it was the family prayer time that kept Christ in Christmas. The activity was fruitful only through the relationship that was present by finding Christ in His Word and in His Church.

photo by Heidi Knofczynski
Celebrating Advent with unsorted socks all around us.
Don't worry how your prayer time looks, just do it!  Ours does not resemble anything one might describe as pious (think more of a three ring circus). Many nights our Advent prayers feel distracted and poorly done – what with the fire hazard and little children who are fighting over whose turn it is to blow out the candles and the older, sulky children who have piles of homework to do -- there are often a lot of side bars during our prayer time (which may or may not include a parent who has lost all patience and finds him or herself screeching at the children in a not so peace-on-earth way). And, all too often I feel our Advent prayer time is hastily done; the holiday activities make for later evenings and children must be put to bed. Mom and Dad need to have a little time to chill, maybe even with a glass of wine (We do! We really, really do!).

Who could possibly be getting anything out of it!!  Don't quit, muddle through!

See, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
muddling through

In the wilderness I make a way,
in the wasteland, rivers. Isaiah 43:19

It takes a firm hope that our time spent in praying the Scriptures with the children -- a sort of  fumbling and awkward fiat our family gives, will be enough. We see through the glass darkly, it is difficult to recognize His movements in our efforts to bring Christ into our Christmas preparations. Give Him your fiat anyway, read from your Bible and light the candles, sing O Come, O Come Emmanuel.  Open the door and prepare the way for Christ!  He is coming!

Peace and Grace to all, Heidi

This post is part of Keeping Christ in Christmas, hosted by Catholic Bloggers Network
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  1. Thank you for such a timely reminder. What we see as failure may not be in the eyes of others or our Lord. Keep planting the seeds, let the Holy Spirit water them. -Cyndi (part of the Catholic Bloggers Keep Christ in Christmas link-up too!) embeddedfaith.org.

    1. Amen! Thanks for your comment! Advent blessings to you!

  2. Heidi, I love your idea of the kindness box. I'll have to,do that right away. And as for your prayer time, LOL, muddle,through a three ting circus are the appropriate terms.

  3. Thanks Anabelle! We are muddling through all right! Blessed Advent to you and your family!

  4. Oh my gosh, Heidi! I/we can so relate to this:

    //Many nights our Advent prayers feel distracted and poorly done – what with the fire hazard and little children who are fighting over whose turn it is to blow out the candles and the older, sulky children who have piles of homework to do -- there are often a lot of side bars during our prayer time (which may or may not include a parent who has lost all patience and finds him or herself screeching at the children in a not so peace-on-earth way).//

    Except we homeschool and I don't have older kids who have homework, just the little ones (7, 4 and 7 months). They really do fight over who gets to blow the candle! Haha! Blessings and prayers from the Philippines! :)

    1. I am glad my kids are not the only ones! Blessings and prayers to you as well!

  5. I'm smiling as I read this, knowing too well of those 'failures'. Your post gives me hope to carry on, muddle through, and never fail to at least try. Wishing you and yours a blessed Advent!

    1. So that we may not boast....Thanks for your comment! Blessed Advent!

  6. The reminder to give our yes to Christ even in the three-ring circus prayer time is very true for our family, too.

    1. I am so glad we are not the only ones! Blessings to your family!

  7. Thank you for this reminder. I think we often get caught up with our so-called failures. Just yesterday, while doing our Jesse tree, I was chasing a puppy around trying to get her to stop eating anything and everything. When we get to frazzled, it really makes us doubt the good we are doing. Thanks for the reminder to keep carrying on!

    1. Thanks for sharing, we do not have a puppy to add to the chaos, at least not yet! Blessings to your whole family!

  8. Epic Advent Failures! LOVE IT!
    Mine is far from perfect… but it's just the way it is.
    God is good… all the time.

  9. Heidi,

    Your post is so encouraging! We start Advent with such enthusiasm and sometime reality doesn't match up to our plans. I sometimes wonder if the failures of our lives are actually more grace filled than our successes. When things go as planned we get our reward in satisfaction. When we fail we have to trust God will use our efforts, anyway which is so much harder!

    God bless!

  10. Thank you for this post. It is great to see families praying, learning, and reading the Scriptures together.

  11. We have been singing O Come Emmanuel after morning prayer time and my kids fight over who is going to hold the page the music is on... Praying with little ones is a lesson in patience

    1. Oh yes it does! We get to learn patience and perseverance and they see how important a relationship with Christ is by our perseverance! Blessings to you and your family!

  12. "Don't worry what your prayer time looks like, just do it" THIS! I so needed to hear this. Last night we attempted family rosary for the first time. We sat on the floor in the living room, each with out own rosary in hand, and my husband led us in prayers. My 4 year old son swung his rosary around like a lasso, and my 2 year old daughter tried to eat hers. It was a little hectic, stressful, and I kept getting lost as I tried to settle the kids, but we still did it. Just like taking the kids to Mass isn't easy, prayer time isn't always easy, but so very important to include them!

    1. Absolutely! Rosary lassos are an occasional problem here as well, I recall a rosary was used as a whip once by my very rowdy three year old (who is now almost 8). He had to use his ten fingers after that for quite some time. When the dust settles and the kids are in bed after prayers my heart is full of gratitude for those struggles. Many blessings to you and your family!

  13. I know what you mean! I love to see how different traditions or practices appeal differently to different kids in the same family. Even if I'm distracted...sometimes the kids run with my little attempts and it's a blessing!

  14. Laughing at the three -ring circus prayer times. I often wonder where the elephants and lions are here b/c we certainly have the rest of the circus going on. But, yes, it is so worth it "just doing" and being together in faith

    1. It is! Thanks for stopping by, Advent blessings

  15. You're so right about needing to just "muddle through"! This year, I decided to really commit to remembering to light the Advent wreath each night, and have the family say just a short little prayer together. It's such a small commitment, but I can see how it's really been effective at focusing us during this season.

  16. My family celebrates with a Jesse Tree. Ornaments & readings here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/PinkScissorsDesign

  17. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

    Catholic Baptism Gifts


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