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Epiphany: When God Revealed His Heart for the Whole World

Epiphany: When God Revealed His Heart for the Whole World

Sometimes I wonder how Mary and Joseph reacted when the Magi showed up.I can imagine them, finally settled, still processing all that's happened with angels and shepherds and this baby in their arms, when there is a knock at the door. Joseph signals to Mary that he will get it, quiet so as not to wake the baby she finally got to sleep, assuming it to be a relative or neighbor. But opening the door, he is met with the startling sight of a dusty, strangely dressed group of foreign, rich, Genti...
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Living a Full Season of Wonder

Living a Full Season of Wonder

There was one Christmas break when I was in high school when I was particularly bored. Not wanting to get into any trouble, I decided to pick up a new hobby. For reasons that only God knows, I decided to begin my short-lived career as an amateur magician.(In the interest of full disclosure, everything that I did was sleight of hand. No magic was actually involved.)I absolutely loved performing magic tricks for people. Whether it was showing my mom a new trick while she was preparing dinner or do...
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The Day We Are Disarmed

The Day We Are Disarmed

It’s a famous story: Christmas Eve, 1914. World War I was raging, opposing British and German forces were locked in a muddy, bloody battle, with the casualties of war littered in the no-man’s-land between their trenches. Despite the pleas of the pope for a Christmas ceasefire, none had been ordered, and the battle went on. Until…After a startling and confusing time of silence, a Christmas hymn rose from the side of the German forces. It was a tune the British knew well. Stille...
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Our Lady of Guadalupe: a sign of Mary's closeness to us

Our Lady of Guadalupe: a sign of Mary's closeness to us

It seems coincidental, doesn’t it, that the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the feast of Christmas fall so close together in the calendar? And yet… if it’s an accident, it’s a particularly happy one. Because the two have much more in common than might generally meet the eye.We all know the story: On December 9, 1531, an indigenous peasant by the name of Juan Diego saw a vision on a hillside outside Mexico City: a young, dark-skinned woman who spoke Nahuatl, a native&n...
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Will the Real St. Nicholas Please Stand Up?

Will the Real St. Nicholas Please Stand Up?

In the 1950s and 60s there was an American television program called To Tell The Truth, in which panelists had to guess which of three contestants was the “real” person described, generally someone with an unusual occupation or life-story. The expression used in the show, “will the real (Name) please stand up?” has entered into the vernacular, and it’s particularly relevant today as we try and figure out who this figure is who has so dominated our experience of Chri...
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Everyday Grace for Advent

Everyday Grace for Advent

As Advent begins, so begins anxiety for a lot of people, and it’s important to not allow your stress to keep you from savoring every moment of this very special season. Here are three ways to stay on track: Connect to history. Advent is a time of tradition, and there are other holidays (like St. Nicholas’ feast day, the day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the feast day of St. Lucy), that provide a chance to remember all those Christians who have gone before us. The modern Santa has a ...
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So let's check in. Are you ready for Advent? (Me, neither.)

So let's check in. Are you ready for Advent? (Me, neither.)

So let's get organized together! No doubt your children and grandchildren have long lists of toys and electronics they'd love to receive from you for Christmas, but let's slow down a little and think about Advent first. Because in a real sense, Advent is for you. It's your time to ready your home and your heart for the coming of the Christ Child.What would help you? I have a few suggestions: Advent Christmas Grace gives you the opportunity to turn to God in Scripture every d...
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The Journey to the Manger

The Journey to the Manger

There are so many Christmas storybooks! You could read your kids a different Christmas storybook each day of Advent for five years and still not exhaust the supply of adventures ending in someone discovering Baby Jesus in a manger! We never seem to run out of ways to arrive at that same manger, and it’s a destination we never seem to tire of! Why is that?I remember a moving conversation I had with a mother whose child was adopted from another country. He’d grown up as the only visibl...
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#PutJesusFirst: Enter into God's time this Advent

#PutJesusFirst: Enter into God's time this Advent

It seems to happen every year: people make resolutions to get their Christmas shopping done early, to make sure everything is in place so they can actually find some spirituality throughout Advent… but in reality things get put off, no one’s sure when they “should” be doing anything, and the inevitable happens: Advent feels more and more rushed.It’s a problem. We have a solution.#PutJesusFirst is your go-to planner for all things Advent. It starts well before Adven...
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How to find Christmas joy when life is not joyful

How to find Christmas joy when life is not joyful

Silence. Complete and utter silence. It filled every crevice of the stable. It stretched to the highest heavens, reverberating throughout the midnight sky. It settled quietly and peacefully in their hearts… A tiny light shone, one brave soldier in the midst of a darkness draped over the tiny shelter they were given against the winter wind. The young virgin Mother rested her arms on the side of the manger where she’d laid her tiny newborn, bundled against the cold.Behold the handmaid...
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