Give from the Heart

People complain that gift-giving becomes empty, frenetic, and annoying. But the problem may not be the giving of gifts but the way we do it. The basic principle is: Anything you do without soul will feel empty and meaningless. So, the task at Christmas is to approach gifts in a different way, in a way that will have some depth and emotion.

-from The Soul of Christmas

Face to Face

The celebration of the birth of the Son of God is the celebration of God’s allowing us to see him face-to-face. Through the Virgin of Nazareth, we can now look on the face of God and live. We have been freed from the darkness of sin in order to ascend the mountain of the LORD and stand with Christ in God’s “holy place.”

 -from The Little Way of Advent

Comfort and Joy

I don’t look for perfection, but for joy and happiness. At Christmas we don’t wish each other perfect lives but only “comfort and joy.” This is what I look for: not an end to struggle, but a level of understanding and adjustment so that we can say to each other, “Merry Christmas.”

-from The Soul of Christmas

Constant Calling

God does not wait for us to become perfect or even to repent, but calls us constantly, even while we’re struggling with our faults or refusing to acknowledge them altogether. God takes what is at hand and finds the good in it. He takes what is humble and elevates it to a higher purpose.

-from A Mary Christmas

When Silence is Music

More than once during this busy season we might find ourselves wanting to run away to a deserted place. We get caught up in seeking the spirit of the season in the music, the parties, the gifts, and all the other trappings of the holidays. But Advent calls us again and again to seek God in the silence.

-from The Joy of Advent

Beacon of Christ

This Christmas, bring that little bit of Jesus you carry in your heart wherever he directs you. Find out what’s needed, and find a way to help.

-from A Mary Christmas

Model of Joy

At every Mass we assert that we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There is not a better time to reflect in joyful waiting than the quiet season of Advent, which comes before the celebration of Christmas. And there is no greater model of joy for us than Our Blessed Mother, Mary.

-from A Mary Christmas

Be Optimistic

The Christmas ideal is different. Yes, take care of your health. But understand how important it is and central to the Christmas message, to be merry, to have a hopeful, positive, and optimistic attitude, even if your health is bad or if life is not at its best. The infant Jesus is lying in a barnyard crib, and yet the emotional atmosphere is glorious and full of hope. What a lesson for us living in a time of worldwide conflict and personal challenges.

-from The Soul of Christmas

Contentment and Joy

As you go through the activities of your day, notice the times when you feel contentment and joy. If you find yourself feeling stressed and surrounded by chaos, take a few deep breaths and bring your attention back to Jesus. Remind yourself that he is the reason for all of this seasonal activity.

-from The Joy of Advent

Find a Way

We are the reason Christ came. Not for the smart, the beautiful, or the saintly, Christ came to save the littlest, the least, the villagers. He’d like your help. This Christmas, stand out as a Christian by finding some way to help those who don’t stand out.

-from A Franciscan Christmas