I lost my great-grandfather in 1976 when I was seven years of age. He died at the age of 98. He looked very old to me. He was a man well respected in our community. After the passing of my great-grandfather, my great-grandmother lived on for another ten years. She passed away in 1986. By this time, I was in High School and in love with photography. I could afford a camera, so I took several pictures of my great-grandmother. It was only after her death that family members began to value her pictures. She was a sweet petite woman and I have memories of her old age even as I was young. I remember vaguely my great-grandparents, but they were an end of a chapter in our family. I watched my grandparents carefully and they did their best to keep up with the family traditions.READ MORE
'Oh little town of Bethlehem,' so the song begins. We have sung this song for ages in different versions and forms. We are so familiar with the lyrics that we can afford to look away from the songbook while we sing. It is the story of Jesus born in Bethlehem, a little town of Judea in a lonely manger without comfort or luxury under the watchful eyes of Mary and Joseph.
Today in our homes, the Christmas crib is the most recognizable image with the Christmas tree along with the assorted decorative ornaments we can afford. The song becomes relevant when we sing, 'For Christ is born of Mary.' We gather each year to commemorate this event with all our hearts and with all our love. It is not only Mary that is joyful seeing her child, Joseph too stands in awe at the sight of the baby promised by God. The dream is real!READ MORE
The picture is getting clearer. Joseph is betrothed to Mary. He is a just man. He does not want to break Jewish rules by taking Mary home without going by the customs and traditions of the Jewish people. He knows Mary is a fine woman, born and raised in the Jewish culture. She will not play any games with Joseph. Therefore, they both stay apart waiting for that day when their marriage will be recognized, and then consummated.
The drama becomes tense. An archangel visits Joseph and tells him not to be afraid. The archangel tells him to take Mary home because she will conceive and give birth to a child. This child will be born through the power of the Holy Spirit. Can anybody see the misery of Joseph? Is he to obey the Jewish culture or take Mary home as commanded by the archangel in his dream? The pains of Joseph are greater than those of because he could be killed for violating the culture in which they both live. Mary will have her pains too; pains far greater than what Joseph experiences.READ MORE
The world has witnessed new beginnings too innumerable to count. A few examples can help here. After the flood, the biblical Noah and his family started life afresh. In more recent history, after the First and Second World Wars people set about the task of rebuilding their families and nations. Again, after the 911 events, America set about rebuilding itself to face the challenges ahead. There are many examples to show how resilient human beings can be after undergoing tumultuous times.
Babies learn to walk. One-minute they fall but rise the next and continue their efforts. Parents smile with joy at their first steps. Babies learn to persevere. People who are ready to learn lessons from the past can reset their future today. And when you visualize how your future may be, then you can start building it here and now. The Christian man or woman is a person filled with faith that seeks to bloom in the present no matter how ugly conditions are.READ MORE
As a parent, your behavior towards your children should always be the best. You can be harsh with friends, but in your home, you should be gentle with your children by loving them tenderly. In fact, you treat those you love with kindness and complete tolerance. Children by their nature learn quickly from those around them, and especially parents who are the closest to them. Every child usually reflects his parent's character or perhaps the character of both.
When teaching your children, you let them know what is good or evil. They make mistakes . But your instinct as a parent is to forgive, to tolerate, and to focus on your job of teaching good behavior. The ability to offer your children a second chance does not degrade your role as a parent, but it enhances the bonds within the family so the strong can help the weak. That is what family is all about: loving, supporting, and caring for each other. For this reason, parents should lead their children with good examples in words and in deeds.READ MORE
Advent is the season we prepare for the coming of the Lord. It is strange that we highly prepare for the coming of the Lord every year, as if that is the only event in Christianity. Indeed, it is not only the outstanding event but also the definitive in Christianity when Christians remember the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem of Judea. Every year the Church commemorates his first appearance of Jesus with a religious ceremony known to all as Christmas. The taking of flesh of Jesus as a man that lived among us is known as the Incarnation.READ MORE