mountainOnce again our priest gave an incredibly mind-opening homily that gave me something interesting on which to write.  So I must give him credit for the message.  He asked us which god we worship.  That question made me think, in our last week of Advent, for which god's birth are we waiting? Which god are we, like the Israelites, awaiting the return? Is it the God of truth who revealed Himself by the name, "I Am" or is it a god we want him to be?

This time of the year draws us back to childhood memories of delightful mornings of bliss while we ripped wrapping paper off of box after box, wondering what magical toy  might be hiding beneath.  It might also resurrect memories of food that was prepared only once a year and must have been meant only for Christmas because nothing smelled that good throughout the rest of the year. All this euphoria must be for something special, right? It couldn't be just anybody's birthday we celebrate with such spectacular feasting and festivity.  So who's birthday are we celebrating, the God of Truth, the Savior of our Souls, the Conqueror of Death? Or is it the god that makes me feel good about myself, the god of comfort, the god that doesn't make my life challenging, the god that understands I have to make my own choices depending on the current circumstances of my life? We can see in the Old Testament that the God of the Israelites allowed  challenges, discomfort, and faith in His laws to help His people grow into the people He created them to be.  The key words there being, He created.  We read in the New Testament of Christ inviting the Apostles and disciples to follow Him, but He didn't offer a life without challenge or discomfort either. Yet, both the God of the Israelites and Christ offered what was best, not just what was easy at the time.  That's the God who's birth we are celebrating at the end of Advent.  He is the God who knows and wants our eternal joy and happiness, not just a momentary comfort.  Any other god doesn't exist.  Our priest revealed that those who worship something less than the God, "I Am", but instead a god that doesn't ask us to stretch outside our comfort zone, a god in whom we don't have to consult and trust, a god we call "my god" when stating that he would never require so much of us actually make themselves pagans.

Wow! That's quite a label. So how do we avoid paganism? How do we know who's  birth, life and sacrifice we celebrate this Christmas? Father instructed that we have to immerse ourselves in Scripture and Church teaching.  We have to make the effort to get to know the God of Truth and learn His laws, and even more, learn the why behind the laws.  As we learn more of the Creator and Lover of Souls, we gain faith and trust that what He has to offer is far greater than the make believe god we might worship.  Think of Christmas without Christ. Would it not be missing a major player? Is it not missing a major focus when it's not about the True Christ, the One "who was, who is, and who is to come"?(Revelation 1:8). Why not give yourself, as well as others, a gift this Christmas and dive into a Scripture study or pick up a good book on a saint, or many saints (A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms by Lisa Hendy), or a book on spirituality? It could be the beginning of a new relationship with the Alpha and the Omega, The Almighty, the One True God. Merry Christmas!

Copyright 2011 Diane Schwind