We have all had them. Those special moments frozen in time. Those moments that will be remembered when we are very old and sit daydreaming about life. They are gifts of God to cherish into eternity.
Everything is more sharply focused in that instant, time stands still, the rest of the world disappears. For this one tiny piece of life, everything is more precious, and God grants a brief interlude in the usual business of living.
The stories of the birth of Christ are full of such moments. Imagine the moment when Mary spoke to God’s messenger, Gabriel. Picture the moment when Elizabeth and her unborn child, John the Baptizer, recognized the unborn Messiah and His Mother. See the awe on the faces of simple shepherds listening to a choir from heaven. Watch the puzzled expressions on the faces of the Magi as they researched the strange new star. Witness the joy on the face of the prophetess, Anna, when she looked on the beautiful, innocent face of the infant Jesus.
Advent gives us unusual opportunities for God moments. Touching moments. Funny moments. Heart-breaking moments. Moments that happen once in a lifetime. Moments that reveal our hearts and clarify our faith. The specialness of the season offers moments of forgiveness and reconciliation. Our spirits sense the hope and joy that Christ’s birth gives the world, and miraculous moments come alive. Eternal moments for ministering to others, in the name of Christ present them selves.
If we are not careful, we will let these special times slip by unnoticed. They can never be recalled. Once passed, they are lost in an eternity of seconds, minutes, hours, days. Learn to recognize when you are part of something much larger than yourself. Take notice of “God Moments” in your life this Advent.
Reflection – Remember some special God moments in your life.
Tuesday, December 21
Juan was a tiny eight-year-old boy in a little Mexican town quite untouched by any other influences. In its simpleness and poverty, time had stood still for 100 years. Juan was one of the town’s orphans. He had lived on the streets as long as he could remember and had no memory of how he came to be there. The church with the convent next door was where he could be found more often than not. The nuns saw to his basic needs as best they could. They shared meager rations of food with him and left the door of the church unlocked on cold nights.
The season of Advent was Juan’s favorite time of year, because the church was so magnificent with its candles and crèche on the altar. Inside those four walls, he felt embraced by light and warmth and security, but he also felt the mystery of God’s presence, which gave him a sense of the only love and peace he knew.
On Christmas Eve, one of the sisters invited him to join the other children of the town in the traditional processional as they brought gifts to the Christ Child. Juan’s joy at being included was soon replaced by sadness at the realization that he had nothing to bring as a traditional gift to present the baby. All day he thought and prayed and not long before the service was to begin, he found a piece of paper and made his gift.
The processional began. The infant Jesus was laid in the manger on the altar and the children presented their gifts of fruit, flowers, and sweets. Last of all Juan walked up to the Nativity and laid in the manger the piece of paper he had found and fashioned into a paper doll.
The next day a kindly nun asked Juan about his gift. This was his story: “Sister there are many nights that I am cold and alone. I had no gift to bring to Christ, so I made myself from a piece of paper and thought I would just lie next to the Baby to keep Him warm.”
The old nun with tears in her eyes said, “Juan, you truly gave to Christ the best of all gifts. You gave him yourself, all that you are. You gave Him your heart.”
Christmas is a time for gifts. I do not believe that God who created all things is impressed with any grand gift we could give Him, but I know God is overjoyed when we offer Him our hearts.
Reflection – What must I do to truly give God my heart, all of who I am?