Countdown To Christmas

ADVENT THOUGHTS, PRAYERS, AND ACTIVITIES

SCRIPTURE
"Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Romans 8:24-25

REFLECTION
God gives us so many things; he asks in return that we believe, that we have hope and faith in him. We have not seen God. We have not seen Jesus. Yet we are asked to believe in what we haven't seen. Even more, we are asked to wait in patience. All this is the very nature of hope and belief.

Perhaps that's why we celebrate Advent and Christmas each year. The season is a time of waiting and hoping, followed by the fulfillment of our hope, the birth of Jesus. Jesus does not live among us physically as he did two thousand years ago. But celebrating each Christmas makes his presence here a little more real -- and helps us wait for him with a little more hope.

PRAYER
Lord, I believe in you; help my unbelief.

ACTIVITY: Help Others Hope
Many relatives or close friends may not be able to see you this Christmas, yet they hope to see you soon. Here is a great gift for anyone who is not able to share in this year's celebrations.

Get a plain calendar for the new year. Mark down in color all important family dates for the year -- birthdays, expected births, wedding dates, anniversaries, graduations, etc. Paste family photos wherever there is space. Then when friends or relatives look at the calendar, they will find a hint of what they hope to soon see.

If you have no family members who'd like a "hope" calendar, make one for yourself. Using old magazines, paste up pictures of places you'd like to visit, people you'd like to meet, careers you'd like to try. Each picture is your own hope for the future.

From COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS: ADVENT THOUGHTS, PRAYERS, AND ACTIVITIES 
1995 Susan Heyboer O'Keefe 
Published by Paulist Press, Reprinted with permission.
997 Macarthur Boulevard, 
Mahwah, New Jersey, 07430. 

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