November 25, 2018
The left-overs are gone or going, Black Friday has passed, there are still a number of shopping days left until Christmas; take a breath and let us use this ‘spare weekend’ to think about getting Christ into Christmas before he gets crowded out.
Every year I mention getting religious-themed cards. I know that can seem stuffy of me and can make you feel uneasy about sending such items to your friends who are ‘spiritual but not religious’ or the others who are just not religious at all. I would certainly make an exception to this idea in the case of a seriously practicing Jew. But it doesn’t really seem right that the recipient of ‘season’s greetings’ should get to dictate the greeting or the friendship that motivates it. Let them send the cards with the drunken Santas and the talking reindeer!
Getting to confession is always a bug-a-boo and a problem in this time of the year. There will be extra times here in the parish and there is a penitential service – lots of priests and convenient timing – on December 9 in Bennington. That’s at 3pm. We don’t hear ‘kiddie confessions’ with the faith formation crowd. But a family outing followed by a nice meal – or vice versa -- can set a really fine tone for the season.
The Christmas Concert by the parish choir – they may still welcome a seasonal voice (see Michael after Mass) --and the service of lessons and carols – think the youngsters in faith formation – will take place on December 16. Time is TBA, but the double event is always followed by the Parish Life Committee’s Christmas Dinner. For this event PL picks up the tab for meat and asks that those planning to attend take responsibility for desserts and ‘sides’. The party is ‘dry’ so it is kid-friendly and provides a neat opportunity for families new and old to meet each other and some of the more senior parishioners. Ugly sweaters and pom-pom hats are optional!
If you take just a moment to think about it, you will realize that somewhere near you lives someone – or –two – who don’t get to Mass because they cannot. This Christmas dinner might be a nice outing that you could facilitate. And don’t forget to offer lift to Mass on the feast day. The church his always pretty and the ‘spirit’ is nice.
We get a fair number of queries about destinations for financial help at this time of the year. Because the Interfaith Council does such a good job of identifying such destinations and organizing the delivery, it is often only at the last minute that we know of someone to help. We’re not ‘scroogy’ about this kind of thing, but your financial gift may go into a general fund, rather than getting disbursed at Christmas.
Speaking of the IFC, they are doing food baskets and gift distribution on the 21st, here at St. Paul’s. A couple of hours on a Friday can make for a great activity for some older kids who need service hours or an introduction to the adult activities in the area.
Don’t ever say that I am short on ideas for you! After all, turn-and-turn is only fair.
Really and truly and seasonally yours,