What a time of year to be the host of the Catholic Carnival! I say, it has been awhile since my last hosting, so let's see how well I remember the drill. In July, I decided to blow a few rockets into the air, add color to the skyline, and put your thoughts and submissions to "music" and make a blast of things around here. This time, I would like to call up the artistry of Norman Rockwell to help greet all you cyperspace readers with a hometown flair that will make you feel comfortable and free to sit for a spell. So, by all means, please, pull up a chair, some hot steaming cup of tea or cocoa, and soft music (Gregorian Chant possibly?) and glean something new, fresh, and even possibly inspiring!
To start things off, I would like to introduce you to Heidi from Mommy Monsters with her post I find extremely realistic and possible called, A Reflection on the Visitation". Here she discusses Mary and Elizabeth's encounter with their decisions in comparison with a young unwed mother from her children's school. The parallels are interesting. Thanks Heidi!!
This next submission comes from Sr. Edith Bogue, Monastic Musings, and is a wonderful reflection on St. Joseph, the father in which she gives us a glimpse of Joseph's role along with Mary's that both inspires us and teaches us that fatherhood is just as important as motherhood. Sr. points out that our loving Father's plan for the holy family, despite the awkward beginnings with an "unplanned" pregnancy and societal pressures, husband and wife made themselves mom and dad to our Lord and Savior. Thank you, Sr.!!
Next, Sarah shares her list desires in her post: "All I want for Christmas." In her post at the Snoring Scholar, she touches on the real Santa, the bishop and the role of bring us to the kneeler at the manger more so than to the foot of the Christmas tree laden with gifts. What she wants for Christmas won't fit in her stocking, but who cares! ...and Yes, Virginia, err Sarah, there is a Santa! St. Nicholas that is! Sarah, what a treat this post is!
This next post is from Christine, the Soccer Mom, and I must admit that it got me as I read her story about a an unexpected Christmas blessing.
As a mother of 3, I have similiar, but a different set of questions when they see me coming along with a 25, 12, and 10 year old. So, I liked Erin's post about "Feigned confusion, followed by polite(firm) correction."It never ceases to amaze me at how some folks seem to think we feel no shock, embarrassment, or inconvenience at the questions they blindly ask. I wonder, did Mother Mary ever have to answer stupid questions? ie, Excuse me, but do you need to wash the halo in cold or warm water when you bathe our Lord? Thanks, Erin for your great post.
Again, we are visited by Heidi at her other blog locale,Streams of Mercy, to share with us a part of her conversion process that is evangelization. Here she compares how she was evangelized and how others taught her to evangelize in her post, "Me? Evangelize?" Thanks for the post, Heidi!
Geoffrey Taylor shares with us his post called, "Killing Ignorance, St Ephrem Maronite Church" A Maronite priest talks about the struggle of Christians in the Middle East. Specifically, I think when the different religious leaders speak about ignorance as the same meaning. "It makes it easier to blame others and easier to kill." Thanks, Geoffrey for this very important eye-opening post.
Now for a commercial break: Brian Michael over at "Christus Vincit, would like to extend a well deserved award to the Bass Pro Shops for their use of the title Christmas in their recent countdown to Christmas in his post called, "Big Time Kudos." Isn't it a shame that people are afraid to say "Merry Christmas?"
Gavin, over at Putland Uncensored, shares his post, "Paschal Passions" about the Christian calendar. It's fairly interesting to see how the order of things evolve. Thanks, Gavin.
At luminousmiseries, Owen introduces us to a new art and prayer devotion of his for 2008 and invites us to take part in 52 ORIGINAL Illustrations of Christ in 2008 by owen w. swain for the release of Holy Souls in Purgatory.
Cehwiedel shares with us her post on "Science confirms Tradition and the Church Fathers" I didn't get to read it all, but what I did was very interesting where she finds that Christmas is NOT based on a pagan feast. Thank you for your great post, Cehwiedel!
James DeLelys presents Look with your Heart! posted at Author James DeLelys
With the election year upon us, David has some thoughts about our Lady and her views on many of the controversial issues taxing our brains these days in his post: Thoughts about our Lady during this Advent season. Interesting.
Now for an interesting take on the actual events of the nativity as fact or fiction, Domini Sumus shares his opinions to the interview with the Angelican Archbishop Rowan Williams in his post called, "Williams, Heresy, and Media." Interesting
Nicholas, from PhatCatholic is who I want to leave you with. What a gem he is in our Catholic blogging world. His Christmas gift to us is for us to "Know the Reason for the Season" with links to all sorts of resourses to read and learn. Though I haven't got time to check them all out....I want to, though, my most favorite is the poem from GK Chesterton called, "The Christmas Poem". I give you this one out right because is it worth reading now!
A Christmas Poem
by G. K. Chesterton
There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.
For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.
A child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost---how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky's dome.
This world is wild as an old wife's tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.
To an open house in the evening
Home shall all men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.
Merry Christmas to everyone and may 2008 be great for our families, friends, the Church, and the world! God Bless us one and all