I just love Hollywood! They have been with us this past week while they finish up filming in Brant Rock. When they leave we will have received rent in the amount of $45,000.00! I want to thank God for this gift He has sent us. I have said time and again that every time I have given away a dollar two more have come back to me. The work we have done for the poor has brought us God’s abundant blessing. I say this from the perspective of one who has real faith in the ways that God moves within our lives. I hope everyone takes time to get on your knees and thank God for this gift; pray for Joe and Mark, the two location managers, who were instrumental in renting our lot. Both are good Catholic Gentlemen who are happy it’s going to a church.

This weekend we enter into the FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT.

While we realize that this time of year is often referred to as ‘Christmas time’ we realize the term is premature, that we are actually in the Season of Advent.

As I have written the past few weeks, our culture here in the Northeast has moved more toward a secular approach to Christmas. We should combat this in our lives as we don’t want to strip ourselves of the culture and traditions of our parents and grandparents. Over the next few weeks I am going to offer some ideas that may spark your personal relationship with our Lord and Savior in this Advent Season. First, acknowledge that it is not Christmas time but Advent, a four week period in which we are preparing for the celebration of Christmas (remember that song, ‘Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord’). Second, continue or return to family traditions. One of my family’s traditions was to have an Advent wreath with three purple candles and one rose candle. Each night at dinner one of my brothers would take their turn lighting the candles. Another tradition was setting up the Christmas stable and putting the figures of the Holy Family and the animals inside the stable. Don’t have either of these…just google the items for purchase. I know some folks have Advent Calendars which they open a panel each night. Some folks celebrate St Barbara’s Day (Dec.3) by cutting a twig off from a fruit tree (cherry tree) and placing it in a vase with water, keeping it in a warm and sunny place, and waiting for it to bloom on Christmas Day. If it blooms before Christmas old folklore has it that it brings good luck to the family. Have a young family, how about celebrating St Nicholas Day. Parents help St Nick by having the kids put their shoes outside their closed bedroom doors and then filling them with candy and small treats…what a great way to introduce the story of St. Nicholas to your kids. Many of you participate in the Jesse Tree program; you should involve the kids by having them help you shop for the gift, and explain the importance of helping the poor. One last idea about celebrating Advent and this one is a must! This Friday is a Holy Day of Obligation, and we will have a Vigil Mass on Thursday at 4:00pm, and on the Feast Day itself at 7:30am. Other area churches are holding 7pm Masses. On this day we celebrate that Mary was conceived without sin in her mother Ann’s womb. Of course it makes sense that the woman who was to give birth to the Son of God would be created without sin. Please make it a priority to come together and give praise and worship to God for the gift of the Blessed Mother, and take time that night to explain the meaning of the Holy Day to your children. Lastly, go to dynamiccatholic.org and participate in the ‘Best Advent’ program this year. Hope these ideas help you push Christmas to December 25th and help you rediscover the joy in planning for a spiritual holiday like none other, yup, that’s Christmas Day. Don’t forget his birthday cake!

Thanks from the women at Julie’s Learning Center for providing turkeys, vegetable, fruits, stuffing, cranberry sauce, all for their Thanksgiving Day Table. May God Bless each of you!