ReConnect Spiritual Challenge: Day 18
A line in today’s Gospel passage jumped right out at me: “God is with us.” This year more than any other time in my life, I needed this message of hope that God is always with me and within me. The upcoming celebration of Jesus’ birth reminds me that the purpose of my life is to give birth to this truth over and over again in a world dying to meet Him.
Every Advent, we are reminded through the same hope-filled stories how God was continually with the Holy Family. Mary literally had God within her and Joseph heard the voice of God clearly in his dreams. They raised Jesus amidst scandal, poverty, and exile with God always there to lead them and reassure them. Knowing that “God is with us” was a radically new and unfolding truth for all the characters in the New Testament stories 2000 years ago.
Despite what I know and believe, this truth needs to be reborn regularly as I face my daily challenges. Over and over again, I doubt or forget or try to tackle something by myself without the adequate prayers of surrender demonstrated so faithfully by Mary and Joseph. I am grateful for how the cycles of our liturgical life bring me back humbly to these basic truths. Advent in particular invites me to reflect on how God humbled Himself to live among us.
The pandemic presented us with many challenges that may have caused some to forget God’s promise to never leave us. We all have people in our lives or know people in our community who have become doubtful that God is, or ever was, with them. Please seek out these folks! Please invite them to reconnect with the living God you know, especially during this season when we prepare for the birth of Jesus and see indeed that God is with us.
Choose one or more of the activities as time permits. If you need further information in order to do some of the activities, contact the parish office to speak with the appropriate Ministry Team member.
1)) Reflect on the lyrics of an Advent song that recalls the world before Jesus was born.
2)) Reach out to someone from the parish you have not seen in a while. Prayerfully look through the parish directory and make a random call to someone who may be homebound.
3)) Send a letter of encouragement to someone on the parish sick list. Provide them with encouragement that they are not suffering alone.
4)) Volunteer to help in the school or in the religious education program. Please do not downplay how much you know! Sharing your experience in the faith journey of a Pre-K to 8th grade student brings Jesus to life.
5) Assist with funerals. In the church, during the Mass, or at the luncheon: there’s always some way to show that God is with us even during these times of grief.
6) Attend this evening’s Las Posadas (The Inns) following the 7 p.m. mass in Spanish. Celebrated throughout Latin America, Las Posadas is a reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for lodging on the journey to Bethlehem.
7) Attend the Living Nativity on Sunday, Dec. 19 following the 5pm Mass (about 6pm)
8) Watch and listen to an inspiring song: Terrian – God With Us (Official Music Video)
9) Pray this beautiful prayer: Footprints in the Sand
ReConnect with your faith and community today, tomorrow — and yesterday! If you miss a day, go back and check out all prior challenge days HERE on our website. We are all imperfect children of God, so let’s KEEP TRYING! To further reconnect with St. Francis Parish, please contact the parish office at 734-821-2100 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to reconnecting with you!
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