Pre-Holiday Links and Resources -Advent 2018 and Christmas

With Thanksgiving this week, Advent is following quickly behind it!

But besides the busy preparation for Christmas, there are a lot of things we can do to really observe the season of Advent! Over the years I have collected links and resources for the holidays that I thought would help me and my family prepare our hearts and spirits to celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus.  I haven't done everything on this list.  Some of it is a wish list, but there was something in every link that I thought was worthwhile.

Perhaps first on the list is actually getting our homes ready for the holidays:
Holiday Grand Plan or join their Yahoo Group E-mail List Declutter and Clean!
Also DeClutter and Organize on Facebook. 

and get your planner ready~  Advent and Christmas Planner from Catholic Icing or Advent Planner from Wildflower and Marbles. 

 This content uses referral links. Read our disclosure policy for more info. This means if you make a purchase, I get a little change to keep up my Diet Coke habit.…

The Feast of Justin Martyr - and My birthday!

St Justin Martyr

About Justin Martyr 

Three of Justin Martyr's works remain today: His First apology (apology as in apologetics meaning defense) is a defense of Christianity as the only rational creed. It also includes descriptions of Baptism and the Eucharist. 

His Second Apology is an address to the Roman Senate as a rebuttal to the charges of immorality against the Christians.

While at Ephesus, he was impressed by the steadfastness of the Christian martyrs, and by the personality of an aged Christian man whom he met by chance while walking on the seashore. This man spoke to him about Jesus as the fulfillment of the promises made through the Jewish prophets. Justin was overwhelmed. "Straightway a flame was kindled in my soul," he writes, "and a love of the prophets and those who are friends of Christ possessed me."

Justin became a Christian, but he continued to wear the cloak that was the characteristic uniform of the professional teacher of philosophy. His position was that pagan philosophy, especially Platonism, is not simply wrong, but is a partial grasp of the truth, and serves as "a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ."

From Father Lew on Flickr

From Early Christian
Well, they say, if then the flesh rise, it must rise the same as it falls; so that if it die with one eye, it must rise one-eyed; if lame, lame; if defective in any part of the body, in this part the man must rise deficient. How truly blinded are they in the eyes of their hearts! For they have not seen on the earth blind men seeing again, and the lame walking by His word. All things which the Saviour did, He did in the first place in order that what was spoken concerning Him in the prophets might be fulfilled, "that the blind should receive sight, and the deaf hear," and so on; but also to induce the belief that in the resurrection the flesh shall rise entire. For if on earth He healed the sicknesses of the flesh, and made the body whole, much more will He do this in the resurrection, so that the flesh shall rise perfect and entire. In this manner, then, shall those dreaded difficulties of theirs be healed.

At 50+, these are welcome words to read! I'd like to know that the aches and pains of my body in this life, will be gone when it rises again!  I have also over the last year or so, started to mourn the loss of my youthful look. Not that I was any great beauty or anything, but I look in the mirror now and I am surprised by the face looking back. And nothing is scarier than putting up my phone to take a picture of something and have the image reversed so that I am staring at myself instead. If I'm looking down with the camera pointing up - it's even scarier! 

Today is the feast of Justy Martyr. By some odd coincidence, it is also my birthday. I was originally due in May but much to my mother's distress, I waited two weeks to put in an appearance. As first labors go, it was a long one. She labored with the Medical Missionary Sisters and my grandmother in attendance and at one point got off of the table and said she was done and that she would be back tomorrow, but the sisters and grandma laughed it off and told her to stay and soon after I was born.

 It wasn't until I reverted back to my Catholic Faith and started to get interested in such things that I discovered that I was born on the feast of a saint that I felt such an immediate kinship too.  Of course, it wasn't until I reverted back to my Catholic Faith that I felt the need to defend it, study it, and seek the truth from it.  Isn't it funny sometimes how God gives us the role models that we need and puts them in special places in our lives for us to benefit from, even when we aren't aware of it?   How he designed this special date as a connection between this holy saint and me, born centuries later, is just awesome. 

Noah Senior Pictures 080

Recently I became aware of another connection, as my college son, the Philosophy Major waxes on and on about all things... uh... philosophical.  It makes me even more aware that God really has a plan and is working it, every day, of every year, through the centuries and that I am indeed a part of it!

Maryrose Esquibel and me

This is my last year as a 50-something.   And although I am in good health and energy and don't feel old or aged at all, my knee that started acting up for no reason at all reminds me that this body has a shelf life, and I do feel as if time is running out. Mr. Pete and I used to talk about buying property and putting in a Christmas tree farm - now we realize that the little trees we might plant could possibly outlast us! Plans for business and education also feel more urgent - the vague idea of "someday" is  a luxury being replaced by a realization of "now or never."

And yet most of the things I want to accomplish are "interior" things such as pray more and read more. And leave a legacy - be someone they want to remember in a good way - not a traumatic way. 

But I'm not one to regret another birthday. Every year is a gift and I want to celebrate mine.

Psalm 90:10
You have kept our faults before you,
our hidden sins in the light of your face.f
9Our life ebbs away under your wrath;g
our years end like a sigh.
10Seventy is the sum of our years,
or eighty, if we are strong;
Most of them are toil and sorrow;
they pass quickly, and we are gone.