Thursday, December 27, 2012

Capturing Christmas {2012}

The Mass of Christ.  Christmas.  
O Holy Night!
Spending time with our extended families and friends before Christmas ~ the appetizer.
Spending time with our extended families and friends after Christmas ~ the dessert.

The main course ~ assisting and worshiping at midnight Mass and Christmas morning Mass (with a few hours of sleep in between) offers pure satisfaction to our hungry hearts.

Weston, Peter, Violet, Joseph, Sawyer and Zachary: a complete set of cousins on Tim's side
Nearly the complete set of cousins; plus a few spouses and our little (and grown) ones on Bridget's side
The heart-breaker: digesting the reality that so many baptized Christians will not choose to worship God in His Church on this holy day, nor faithfully on Sundays, nor on any day.  With lives so full and so blessed, they lack the desire ~ or the will ~ to physically and habitually return to God's house to give Him praise, thanks and glory.  The call God Himself placed upon their hearts has been somehow muted or crowded out in the noisiness and business of life.  Yet He waits patiently for each one of us to return to Him.  Our Returning King offers His endless mercy as a perpetual Christmas gift, free of charge to anyone who simply, humbly asks.

Rocky at Christmas

Friday, December 21, 2012

Our New Arrival {Zac Returns from Notre Dame}

Joseph, Zachary and Peter together after daily Mass at Sacred Heart
His first semester at Notre Dame behind him, Zachary returned to the fold for a month's Christmas break.  Luggage in tow, fully bearded and dressed to the nines, Zachary arrived in fine form and our family of five was once again whole. 

With Zachary's return comes the reunion of his old gang of solid friends;  guys who have obviously missed Zachary and anticipated his return.  He's a wanted man, and does a fine job balancing his family time and 'bro' time.  The shortage of hours of sleep notwithstanding, Zachary's adjustment to life at home seems fairly seamless. 

One semester of intense German in his wake, with another on the horizon inspired Zachary to read the Gospel of John in German over the break.  Following along in English, I listened as he read the first chapter aloud.  I'm no German scholar, but he sounded proficient and certainly confident in his pronunciation. 

In these final days of Advent, our family and individual preparations for the celebration of Christ's birth draw us closer to one another, and closer to Him.  The excitement of having our first-born son return from college, as awesome as it is, pales in comparison to our hope-filled anticipation of the coming of our Savior ~ as at the remembrance of His Holy birth on Christmas we await our Returning King who promised to come again to judge the living and the dead.  Are you ready?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Perilous Preparations {Advent Lights}

Joseph makes a mad dash to get to geometry class, with Peter on high.
Sparing no efforts and wasting no time, Joseph and Peter cooperatively executed a well schemed decorating project which effectively illuminated our exterior surroundings.  Following in the footsteps of their Grandpa Cliff, famous for fantastic lighting displays, the boys spared no expense, spending their own money to acquire new strands of lights for the festive design they envisioned.

A written plan, complete with diagrams and check lists kept Peter and Joseph focused and coordinated their efforts to meet a common goal: become the brightest house on the block. 
Alpine Christmas (a planning list)
1. Get more lights soon (extra bulbs)
2. Acquire evergreen branches
3. Place lights with branches
4. Eat dessert
5. Pray to Baby Jesus
Decorating into the night, Peter perches near his handiwork.
Not without great danger was this enterprise accomplished.  The farthest reaches of our roof top stand about thirty feet above the ground and come to a small point on diagonal angles.  Although Joseph knew this section of the job was beyond his comfort level, Peter volunteered willingly.  Disappointed that Dad wouldn't let them attempt reaching this corner in the dark, they begrudgingly agreed to postpone completion.  This most perilous corner had to be accessed twice, as the first attempt to secure the lights failed at first wind.   Admittedly quivering, yet bravely determined to complete the project, Peter scaled the heights a second time to attach the wayward strand. 

Joseph and Peter strike a post-decorating celebratory pose.
The great reward for their decorating efforts came in the form of Grandpa Cliff's compliments, complete with an honest expression of his amazement, "I can't believe you put lights up to that corner!"
Mission accomplished.