“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
How would you feel if you had spent almost half of your life on one painting, and then after all that effort it was not well received? This is what happened to Alexander Ivanov and his monumental painting, The Appearance of Christ to the People (look for it online). He started on the 18ft x 24ft painting in 1837 and did not complete it until 1858. The beauty of this painting is based on hundreds of preparatory sketches and paintings he made over twenty years. Many art critics believed the early sketches and paintings revealed such great expressiveness and psychological depth, they could hardly await the final version. Then, when at last he exhibited his life long masterpiece the reception was…well, lukewarm, at best…then he died a few months later from cholera (never knowing how beloved he would become a century later).
Like most of life, Advent is so much about “the waiting.” But, Advent offers something more than just spending your life in wait, only to get a disappointing response from others. It is about the promise of all that is to come, and realizing the presence of Emmanuel (“God-with-us”) in our own corner of the world. Here at our parish we have the chance to see just how God IS with us through each other’s lives: from those who participate in the Adopt-a-Child, the endless line of St. Vincent de Paul givers on Thanksgiving morning (what a shocking and fabulous support), to those who reach out to recognize the Christ Child’s presence in the sick, homebound, hospice, lonely, grieving, and those whose needs are many, & those who came to Tom Peterson’s Advent talk.
Our parish continues to find the gift of Emmanuel in those who serve on our Parish Pastoral Council, especially our newly elected officers: Jerry VanDevere (president), Ben Elsass (vice president), and as our secretaries, John Duckworth and Keith Ford.
Remember there are daily opportunities to help you realize Emmanuel in your life: Compline (Night Prayer) every night at 9:00-9:15 p.m. before the Blessed Sacrament, Daily Mass and Confession Times (see the bulletin), Eucharistic Adoration (see bulletin for daily times), and THIS WEEK we will have our only ADVENT CLUSTER COMMUNAL PENANCE at Nativity of the Lord Jesus Church (Thursday, December 12, 7:00 p.m.).
Remember, if you are tired and drained of all your Christmas preparations by December 25th~you did Advent wrong!
Maranatha, Fr. Bline