I grew up near Lake Victoria - Africa’s biggest freshwater lake. It is in the same area where the Nile River starts its three-month long journey to Egypt. While I grew up near these two important waterbodies, I never really learned how to fish well. This is because good fishing is an art. It requires a specific personality and particular qualities for it to be fruitful.
As mentioned in the first reading, a shoot springs from the stock of Jesse, an offshoot who clings to the roots of the family. Who is Jesse? Jesse is a descendent of Judah, one of the sons of Jacob, the son to whose lineage God promised a ruler, a ruler to whom the people would give obedience.
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I have fond memories of living out the Advent Season as a child. I was excited to share Advent with my children and continue to intentionally live out this beautiful season in my home today. The Advent Wreath takes center stage, time is spent on spiritual reading, Advent music is played, baking is done and the finished goods stored in the freezer. Christmas decorations are kept to a minimum and come out gradually and the Christmas tree is put up only a few days before Christmas.
If I were to ask you, “How much faith do you have?” What would you say? I think most of us would say, “It depends on the day, or even what time of day, for anyone who’s not really a morning person, before that first cup or two of coffee—believe me I understand!
It took most of my adult life, but I finally bought four sets of Advent candles at once. This decision saves me the inevitable post-Thanksgiving scramble to find candles. The previous last-minute candle frenzy mirrored too much of the secular holiday season … go go go. Here is my proposition for this upcoming Advent season: let’s reclaim this time for our families, our sanity, and mostly for our deepening relationship with Jesus. Here are some of my suggestions for doing so this year.
To love our neighbor, means to open our hearts to all people, including the hungry, thirsty, homeless, truly anyone is need. I’m afraid that, for much of my life, I didn’t love them very much. Of course, I’d pray for them, but I had little direct interaction with those living in poverty.