HUMOR AND HUMILITY Since humility is the foundation for all virtue, it is not surprising that it is the requisite for a sense of humor. Humility is the proper and correct appraisal of ourselves. We are the creatures of God. Of ourselves we are nothing. Whatever we are or have is from Him and His. Because we are able to see ourselves in proper perspective, we are able to laugh at ourselves as well as at others. Our foibles and fancies and past blunders are a source of amusement to ourselves as well as to others. We are not completely unremunerated comediennes. I have never forgotten the scene of a small boy crying with a banana in his mouth and a loaf of bread under his arm. Too many of us go through life in this comic fashion, sad-eyed-Sams with God's blessing all about us. On the other hand many wonderful people keep their cheerfulness with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. If sick people can remain cheerful, how ashamed the rest of us should feel for being wet blankets. The real difference between a gloomy Gerty and a cheerful person is that the latter is tuned into the harmony of God's never ending and always new symphony. The gloomy Gerty is out of tune and full of static, a nuisance to herself and to all within earshot. We must admit that there is an undertone of tragedy to real humor, as is evidenced in the works of Dickens. However, a sense of humor is productive of a cheerful attitude toward life. The living are more attractive than the dead. The interested wife is interesting because she is animated to the joy of living. Gayety appeals to all. The gay wife is a pleasure to her husband. She is a pearl of great price. The wife who has a sense of humor will make a much more stable wife as well as a much more lovable and desired one. She is safeguarded against many repelling characteristics. Conceit and a sense of humor do not get along together very well. Adolph Hitler was not famous for a sense of humor, nor are any of the other tyrants, who plague the world. Some people are perfectionists. They want to do things perfectly all the time. Because of their aim they are in a dither with themselves and others too frequently. A wife who is a perfectionist must watch herself. Unless she be on guard, she can easily commit one of the mortal sins of marriage by nagging her husband. A sense of humor will temper this tendency and save her from becoming a veritable shrew. Possessing a sense of humor the wife is prevented from getting too excited over the idiosyncrasies of her husband. She can see the amusing side of things and thus is saved from many heartaches. Besides, because she is humble, she is less sensitive. Consequently, it is hard for anyone to hurt her. She will have little temptation to go around brooding over real or imagined slights. For the give and take of every day life with her husband she is well equipped. 6. THE WIFE DESIRED IS A COMPANION TO HER HUSBAND The wife desired is the companion of her husband. Hand in hand they walk through life sharing their joys and sorrows. Together they stand against the world. They have secrets shared with no one else. Their union goes beyond that of friendship, for in it are found the little intimacies of lovers. Together they meet life fortified with each other. Their hearts leap for gladness in the merry month of May of their lives. In the grey December their sorrows are softened with the comfort of carrying each other's burden. No pain can equal the pain of the loss of each other. Their loneliness when death takes the other has no counterpart in this vale of tears. Marriage is a partnership in the business of living. Just as most phases of life are specialized, so marriage itself is specialized. To the husband fall certain obligations, to the wife others. He must bring home the bacon. She upholds her end of the bargain by being the queen of the home. "As the sun when it rises upon the world in the high places of God. so is the beauty of a good wife for the ornament of her house." Ecclus. 26, 21. In this chapter we consider a number of aspects of married life which may seem to have little or no reference to companionship. A girl contemplating marriage and especially the phase of companionship which it brings may wonder what sewing, cooking, and housework can have to do with companionship. The answer in a nutshell is that, unless the wife takes care of her end of the bargain, there will be little companionship. If the husband is irresponsible and does not support the family, how can there be the normal companionship of marriage? Likewise, if the wife is remiss in the specialized chores which are her lot in life, she will make a very poor companion. In other words, the husband's support of the home and the wife's cooking and housework are the basis upon which it is possible for them to build a companionship without which marriage is a bleak affair. As we have already said, marriage is a partnership, and companionship is the reward beyond reckoning for those who accomplish the duties befalling them as partners in a glorious enterprise. Suppose that a young lady married a man unequipped for and irresponsible about his obligations. After a few days of honeymoon--he did not have the cash for a more extended one-- they returned to live with her parents. He had a few more days of freedom, she understood, before getting back to his job. The first day or two passed well enough: but then she became worried. As she busied herself about the house under mother's watchful eye, her man seemed unconcerned about the future. As the days went by, his naps on the davenport became more frequent and prolonged. She could not hide her anxiety any longer, so she asked him whether he was going back to his job soon. "What job?" he frowned up at her. It did not seem that he had a job at the time, but, like Micawber, he felt that one might turn up soon. To be sure, a wife in this position would be in for a very difficult marriage. I have seen very many men of this type--lazy, selfish, irresponsible, and as well prepared for marriage as a jackrabbit. Occasionally, he will be a very likable individual. He is good natured and easy going and dances like a gigolo--a wonderful fellow with whom to pass a holiday at the lake, but not a man to settle down within the partnership of marriage. Let us return to the wife. After all, she is our wonderful subject. Again we can imagine the opposite case in which the wife was delinquent. The husband was a fine, responsible young man. He was industrious and had saved money for his marriage. In fact, he had bought a home albeit with a fat mortgage. After ten days of honeymooning they returned to their little home. He had several more days vacation before returning to work. It was summer, and they were going to make the most of it at the beach. The wife suggested the first day that, instead of wasting time in the kitchen, they have a sandwich and milk shake on their way. They could thus have more time at the beach. The husband thought it was a good idea. On the way home in the middle of the afternoon the wife mentioned that Aunt Susie wanted them over for dinner that night. Remember Aunt Susie? She went all out for us in the generosity of her wedding present. Splendid. Aunt Susie's it was. The next day and the next it was the same story--clever maneuvering away from the kitchen. By now the husband wondered why he did not save construction costs on the home by eliminating the kitchen This poor little wife could just about manage to boil water. She had never cooked a thing in her life and did not evidence any concern for the future. Although these two imaginary cases are extreme, do not think that they are out of this world. One would think that a girl would pride herself on being able to cook, to sew, and to keep house. Sometimes an over efficient and fussy mother keeps her daughter from having a chance to learn these things. More often her inefficiency indicates an indolent and even selfish girl. She prefers to let her mother spoil her by waiting on her hand and foot, while she ensconces herself on a sofa with a book and bonbons. Of course, many of these girls rise to the occasion with their marriage and learn to be efficient wives in respect to the home. The love of her husband and children does the trick. The worst offenders in this important phase of marriage are those who stagnate after marriage and lose interest in their homes. One instance comes to mind in which the husband would come home from work and wash several days dishes and tidy up the kitchen. He had hoped to shame his wife into a realization of her position. She merely laughed at him. She was slovenly in the care of her child. When she got around to changing the baby's diaper, she was more than likely to throw it into a corner to remain there for some distant future reference. This woman did little more than visit her girl friends all afternoon and gossip with them. She flounced into the home a few minutes before her husband's return from work. Her preparation of dinner consisted of opening a can of beans, unwrapping some cold cuts, and placing on the table a loaf of chaff and straw dust commonly called bread by a generation unfamiliar with the joys of eating homemade bread. Had this woman married another Okie it is possible that they could have been happy. Not many people can live in a pigsty like this and be contented.
from the Matt Walsh Blog
He is a legend, a myth, a fable.
I hope this isn’t breaking news.
Now, when a myth is passed off as fact, it becomes something else: a lie. In many households, Santa is a lie. He’s fun, he’s jolly, he owns gravity-defying reindeer and enslaves thousands of tiny elves in his icy dungeon; he’s overweight (probably because he eats billions of cookies every Christmas), and he isn’t familiar with laws against trespassing and home invasion. He’s also a lie.
He isn’t just a “story.” Stories — fictional stories — have an ending. They are contained in books and television shows and movies. We do not weave an elaborate web of deceit to convince our children that Snow White really exists, or that Mickey is an accurate portrayal of how mice really behave. If they ask us about the geographical location of Neverland, we’ll tell them Neverland is just imaginary.
We like for our kids to have imaginations, but Santa has nothing to do with imagination. When you imagine, you conceive a thing that isn’t. With Santa, a child is simply duped into believing a thing that isn’t. Santa is a mythology that we force feed down their throats, and then go to great lengths to preserve. Again, it’s called “lying,” not “imagination building.”
Lie: a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.
He’s an entertaining, fanciful, merry ol’ lie — but he’s a lie all the same.
I’m often informed that Santa isn’t a “lie,” per se, because he’s “just for fun.”
Well, he might be, but the opposite of “lie” isn’t fun — it’s “truth.”
Is Santa true? No. Do you know he isn’t true? Yes. So what do you call it when you attempt to convince someone of an untruth? Fun? OK, but it’s a fun… what? A fun lie.
Look, my own mom and dad “did the Santa thing.” They’re great parents and fantastic people, so I’m not making any judgments about parents who “do Santa.” You could be perfectly wonderful, loving, and caring, and still participate in this holiday fraud.
But I think it might be time to reconsider the practice.
Yes, it’s a longstanding tradition, but not all traditions are worth continuing. Take, for example, Santa’s evil cousin: the Bogeyman. In many cultures, parents used to tell their kids that the Bogeyman would come to their room at night and eat them alive if they didn’t behave. Depending on the country, sometimes he would kidnap you and make you his slave, and other times he would just cannibalize you upfront. There have been many variations — and, hey, do your own thing with it, have fun — but they all shared the common “do what I say or a mythical beast will brutalize you in unspeakable ways” message.
There’s a lot that past generations got right about parenting. This isn’t one of them.
Certainly, Santa Claus is far more pleasant than the Bogeyman, but I submit that they are both relics of a time when it was acceptable to coerce your children with mystical scare tactics.
Maybe we should move on.
I don’t intend to write a lengthy refutation of every pro-Santa argument; I’m already devoting enough space as it is to this gluttonous stalker. I’d like to specifically address only one point on the Santa platform. I hear it all the time, and it goes like this: Santa makes Christmas magical. If you take Santa away from your kid, you’ve taken all the fun out of the holiday.
Please, carry on with the Kris Kringle schtick for whatever reason you like, but not this one. Any reason but this reason. Santa makes Christmas magical? SANTA?
This is what I hate about the guy. He’s a Christmas-stealing glory hog. He’s a diva; everything has to be about him, doesn’t it?
We invite Santa to Jesus Christ’s birthday party, he brings his stupid elves and a bag full of cheap toys, next thing you know it’s his party. If he leaves, apparently the party’s over. How can we have fun without magic?
Well, you know, there’s still Jesus. The Messiah. The Son of Man. Jesus Christ is better than magical. He offers something far greater than toys. He doesn’t have flying deer, but he has armies of angels. He doesn’t live in a cabin up in the North Pole, but He does live in a dimension that transcends time and space, and He invites us to join Him there in unending bliss. He doesn’t visit every house on Christmas night, but He’s always present, everywhere, all the time, because He is an omniscient deity.
In other words, Jesus is WAY cooler than Santa. This is a message that is, I think, tragically lost on many children. Let’s be honest: Christmas ain’t big enough for the both of them. Santa, the fun fictional character? Sure. Santa, the silly game of make believe? Yeah, he can join the festivities without overshadowing the Man of the Hour. But Santa, the actual real person who gives out toys made by elves? THAT Santa, being a man of considerable girth, tends to crowd Jesus out of the hearts of many kids. Yeah, Jesus is the Messiah, but Santa has TOYS. Who comes out on top in that scenario when you’re 4 years old?
Some children are so full of natural grace that even a pudgy mystical gift giver can’t distract them from Jesus. But normal kids — kids that are closer to how I was as a child — will find their allegiances split. I can’t believe that I’m the first 5 year old who impatiently sat through church on Christmas Eve, ignoring all of the stuff about nativities and wise men; entirely engrossed in visions of reindeer, elves, Santa Claus, and Game Boys (it was the 90′s, kids).
Why do we need to spruce up the Birth of God by adding some nonsense about a fat guy in a red suit? God, the Ultimate Power in the universe, sent His Son to Earth. He was conceived inside a woman’s womb and was born into this world in the same manner that all humans are born. He walked among us, performed miracles, healed the sick, raised the dead. He was murdered and then came back from the grave, and He now sits on His throne, at the right hand of God the Father. On Christmas, we celebrate His arrival, and the beginning of the epic journey that ended with Christ’s triumph over sin and death. He watches over us at all hours, every day, all year, for our whole lives, and offers us healing, comfort, and salvation. His angelic armies protect us as they battle the forces of evil, and He wants us all to join in that fight; a fight that will be won, once and for all, at the End of Time, when He returns in glory.
Now, tell me how Santa makes THAT more magical?
Santa, the Christmas Lie, is but a whimper and a sigh in the light of Jesus, the Christmas Truth. He can’t bring anything to the table that Jesus hasn’t already provided.
So do Santa if you want to do Santa, but you don’t need him to make Christmas magical.
Christmas is already more than magical — it’s supernatural.
My thoughts: I love my list booklet for this time of the year especially. I easily become unfocused. Our house is busy and I can find myself wandering around the hustle and bustle in a bit of a daze. When I get like that….ha! often!….I go back to my list book in which I have previously entered what I need to get done. It helps me get my mind back to where it needs to be. My body follows…..usually!
I can get a bit stressed when I think of all the things that I have to accomplish before Christmas. That’s when I back up and say a prayer, asking Our Lady to help me get everything done today that I need to get done…today. I leave the rest in His Hands. Then I am more peaceful, which is a necessity in getting anything accomplished!
One more thought and I tell my kids this often….people are more important than things..and schedules….and how clean the house is. Let’s not forget it when we are rushing about!
From Charlotte Siems:
It’s all too easy to get overwhelmed with thoughts about what is coming up this holiday season. Parties, dress rehearsals, programs, shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking…did you feel your heart rate increase? Let’s take a look at some ways to lessen the holiday stress and stay happy during the season.
Manage Stress with a Calendar
Plan ahead with a calendar. I’m not talking about filling out complicated forms and planning a rigid time for everything. I’m just advocating thinking about what’s coming up and writing down some concrete plans. Get a blank month calendar and write down the non-negotiables till the end of the year: appointments and commitments. Then use a week calendar/simple planner to take a look at what’s coming in the next few days. Finally, each morning look at the day’s schedule so you’re prepared for appointments and tasks.
Use your calendar to inform your preparations. If your kids have a choir dress rehearsal with uniforms or costumes, get that clothing ready in advance. Don’t forget to corral the socks, tights, shoes and hair bows, as those are the items that tend to get lost and cause a last-minute crisis. If you have a gift exchange coming up, pick up a gift a few days before while you’re grocery shopping.
Notify yourself ahead of time. Whether you use high-tech alarms on your phone, or low-tech sticky notes, remind yourself before deadlines. “Put chicken in crockpot” or “Pick up Susie’s gift” can save you some grief when you get busy and distracted.
Reverse-engineer your days. If you have an evening party, back up and figure out how much time you’ll need to prepare finger foods and get everyone ready, rather than waiting till an hour before and panicking.
Keep It Simple
Stock up on supplies for simple, easy meals. Match your schedule with your meal plan. If you have a day coming up with appointments out of the home, that’s a great day to plan a crockpot supper. Actually, a crockpot meal is good any day! The point is to bring some sanity to dinnertime by avoiding the drive-thru or the “What’s for Supper Blues.”
Don’t insist on perfection. Expecting perfection from yourself and others is a setup for disappointment. Things won’t go as planned and you won’t be perfectly organized during this season. Depending on your personality, going with the flow may be easy….or not so much. But having your own secret idea of how things should go and expecting everyone to conform is unfair. Let it go. This, too, shall pass.
Take time to make memories. The day after Christmas, it won’t matter if you created golden brown sugar cookies with icing stars. But when the holiday is over, it will matter what atmosphere you created in your home and how you made your loved ones feel. Don’t miss the opportunities to build memories in simple and sweet ways.
Don’t get stressed about the next month….today. You can only live right now. It’s all going to get done, and what doesn’t get done won’t kill you. Don’t borrow stress and anxiety about the next few weeks. Each day has enough trouble of its own, according to the Bible. You can do today. You can do the next fifteen minutes. Take your thoughts captive so they don’t create a mountain out of a molehill.
What is supposed to be a joyous, special time can turn into a stressed-out, overwhelming time if we’re not careful. Step back and take some time to evaluate and tweak your schedule and life. Take charge of your life—don’t let everything take charge of you this holiday season. Happy holidays!
Too Young to Keep Company?
I am 14 years old, a sophomore in high school, and I have a boy friend who is 16. We go out together twice a week, sometimes more often. My mother tells me I’m too young to be keeping company like that, but all the kids are doing it. I can’t see that there is anything wrong with it. Is there?
Our answer to the above question must be directed chiefly to 14, 15, and 16 year-old high school girls who have not yet gone in for company keeping. (There are many such, despite our correspondent’s statement about “all the kids.”)
It is our sad experience that there is little use in talking to very young girls who already have their “steady” boy friends.
Keeping company makes them feel wise beyond their years. Because they are acting as if they were adults by this practice, they usually feel that they have a right to talk back to adults who tell them it is unwise, dangerous, and harmful to their later lives.
We hope our correspondent is an exception, though the way she tosses aside her mother’s advice would indicate otherwise.
Steady company keeping is only for those who have a right to think about marrying within a reasonable time; who are free from responsibilities that company keeping would interfere with; and who are mature enough to recognize and resist the dangers that go with company keeping.
A 14 or 15 year-old girl in high school fulfills none of these conditions. She shouldn’t and ordinarily doesn’t want to think of getting married for a good number of years.
She should be occupied with the business of getting an education, and nothing can so thoroughly nullify her efforts in that regard as the excitement of puppy love and the time wasted on frequent dates.
Above all, she is too young to be aware of the danger of sin that is inherent in her own nature and that may be presented by her equally immature boy friend in the close associations of adolescent company keeping.
There is great need of a corps of young people of high school age who will resist the all too common practice of regular dating and steady company keeping.
Such young people must be humble enough to realize that their elders are not talking through their hats nor adopting the roll of kill-joys when they advise against the practice. They must know that while again America makes light of it, true Christian principle condemns it.
:Is it wrong to continue to see a certain boy secretly when your parents have forbidden you to go out with him?
I am 21 years old and my father is quite wealthy. The boy I have been going with comes from an ordinary family and he is working his way through business college, hoping to obtain a good job when lie finishes.
My mother and father argue that he will probably never be able to provide for me as they have done all my life so far. That is why they have forbidden me to see him.
But I think I am in love with him, and I don’t care if we do have to live on a small income after he graduates.
Of course I wouldn’t marry him until then, but if I don’t see him in the meantime once in a while I shall probably lose him.
I’ve been having lunch with him now -and then when I’ve gone shopping, and I want to continue to do so.
Even though you are 21, with some right to decide your own vocation in tile, there is a presumption in favor of the wisdom of your parents’ requests and commands.
That presumption will yield only to clear indications that they are unreasonably interfering with the happiness of your future and the will of God for you.
On the side of the wisdom of your parents is the fact that ordinarily it is not easy for a girl who has had all the conveniences and luxuries that wealth can provide to adjust her mode of living to a much lower standard.
Nor, ordinarily, can a girl be very happy if, in order to marry, she has had to incur the displeasure and lasting opposition of her family, especially if she has had a pleasant and easy life with her family.
Only if a girl has a strong, spiritual character, a proven capacity for mortification and sacrifice, and a great earnestness about her task in life, should she consider a marriage that will mean giving up much that she is accustomed to.
Since it is pretty hard for you to judge whether you have all these qualities, I suggest that you obey your parents to this extent: tell the boy of your parents’ wishes and commands; tell him that in obedience to them you will not see him for three months; during the three months test yourself, by rather rigorous mortification, to learn how many of the luxuries of your home you can do without; and at the same time try to convince your parents, in all kindness, that they should permit you to see the boy at least once in a while, on condition that you will make no decision to marry him without talking it ever thoroughly with them.
High School Company-Keeping
I am 16 years old, and in my last year of high school.
My parents permit me to go out with boys only once a week, and then they insist that I go out in the company of my older brother.
All the other girls of my age have dates as often as they like, and I feel that I am old enough to go out like that too. I know the dangers of going out, but I feel that I have to face them sometime. Don’t you think my parents are too strict?
The chief reason you give for demanding that your parents permit you to go out freely, viz., because other parents let their daughters have all the dates they like, is not a good one.
I realize that it makes a young girl like yourself feel persecuted when she cannot do what other girls are permitted to do; at the same time, you must remember that if your parents were content just to follow the example of other parents, they could let you find your way into all kinds of trouble.
There are too many weak and foolish parents in the world today; too many whose example would be the worst possible thing for your parents to follow.
Your question is, then, apart from what the other girls are permitted to do, this: Should a high schoolgirl of 16 be permitted to go out with a boy (or boys) more than once a week, and should she be permitted to do so without having a protective older brother tagging along?
To the first part of the question I would say that once a week is a generous quota of dates for a high school girl who wants to get some lasting good out of her high school studies. If you go out two or three times a week, it is almost certain that you won’t do very well in your studies, and never in your whole life will you be able to make up for that. Furthermore, I would say that it would be very imprudent for you to go out even as often as once a week if it were always with the same boy.
That would add greatly to the danger of sin and to the wasting of time in high school. I know you will tell me that there are dozens of girls who do this, and I will answer that by telling you that there are dozens of high school girls who fall into sin and wreck their characters and waste their education by steady company-keeping.
As to having your older brother with you on your dates, there is much to commend this safeguard.
High school girls and boys are best off in crowds or, at least, groups of four or six.
When young people insist on their right to be alone with their dates, there is a suspicion that they want to be free to do things that are wrong, such as kissing, petting, etc.
Your parents are pretty wise, but I feel sure that if you convince them that you are not going to permit any evil actions by any boy, they will let you go out once in awhile on your own.
A man wants a woman who will place him in the number one position on her list of priorities, not somewhere down the line. He wants her other activities to revolve around him, not vice versa. This is an inner need that has dire consequences when things like children, career, homemaking, or friends are placed before him.
A man does not expect his wife to neglect her duties – in fact he wants these duties done to the best of your abilities, but he does not want to be less important than they are. Neither does he want to be regarded as a paycheck, convenience, escort or sex partner. This makes him feel as if he was married for a means to an end, and not for himself.
There is a tendency for women to fail in this area. With most of us it begins early in childhood with our dreams of an ivy-covered cottage, children, and a home…but no husband in it.
Later on we dream of Prince Charming. We dream of him sweeping us off of our feet and living happily ever after. The problem is, once we catch our prince, we revert to our earlier dream and leave him out of the picture. We devote ourselves to our homes, our children, and other affairs, and our husbands begin to play second fiddle to our other “more important” activities.
Let’s take a closer look in detail at some of the things we tend place first.
If you are like most women, children are highest on your list of responsibilities. This devotion to our children was placed here by our Creator, but He did not intend this duty to usurp the duty we have toward our husband. Mrs. Andelin uses a woman called Clara as an example. She was a model of devotion and the perfect mother. She always spoke in a moderate tone to her children, helped them with their lessons, catered to their needs, and gave them lavish birthday parties. Her children were the center of her world. Never had she seen a finer example of motherly devotion. Mrs. Andelin admired her greatly and wanted to be like her, until…one day she realized the unhappy place her husband had. He was a provider, and father, but not the king of his castle. He bitterly resented this position. As it grated on his personality he became angry and the uglier side of him soon began to surface.
This resentment can even cause a man to resist having more children. He won’t want any more competition for your affections than he already has.
Making him number one will not interfere with your sacred duty to your children, it will enhance it, neither will it diminish your love for them, but bring forth better fruit. Your children will be happier and more secure when their father is in his rightful place, with the respect and admiration that this position carries.
A man wants a clean home, and a comfortable environment. A man wants to be the king of his castle. The castle is there to serve the king, the king is not there to serve the castle. I like this quote from the book: “Create a home, not a showplace.” The home should not take priority over him. (This does not give you license to neglect your duties. More on this in a later lesson.)
Everyone wants to be well-groomed and cared for. We all should have self-respect, but when you spend hours on your nails, hair, clothes, exercise, etc. then your motives may be in question. If you are doing these things to please your husband, he will no doubt appreciate it, but if you are placing him second to this he may envy the public you dress for.
Do you have more feelings and closeness to your parents than you do for your husband? Do you still call your parents’ house “home”? Do you let them come between you and your husband? Do their wishes count more than his? Better check who is in the first-place spot.
5. Money, Success, Status:
Sometimes a man’s money or position becomes more important than he is. If he is happy with his job and income, then you should be willing to live within his means. If he WANTS to press on, then by all means you should back his efforts, but if you are the one pushing for more and more, you will be causing great unhappiness and problems.
6. Career, Talent, Activities, Friends:
One of the biggest obstacles in placing your husband as number one is a career. Most of us feel a great deal of pressure to do our best for our boss. With women this can be a problem, since she also is to do her best for her husband. Some women even have such a drive for success that there husband sinks down the ladder of success as she steps on his head to climb it. Care is also needed not to place clubs, pursuit of talents, outside activities and friends before your husband. You should always be willing to sacrifice a part of these things if necessary.
When a Man Comes Home
There is a time of day in most men’s lives that can become very special if given a bit of thought to detail. This is when a man comes home. Here are a few things you can do to make this something he looks forward to:
1. Have your housework done and tools put away.
2. Have your home as quiet and peaceful as possible.
3. Put away other projects such as sewing.
4. Take a minute to freshen up. Change your clothes if you need to.
5. Don’t let the children rush to him with problems and requests. These can wait until later.
Why are we making gifts for each other two, three, four weeks ahead of time? Working as hard as we can to make something beautiful? To wrap it beautifully? To tie it beautifully? To think of something full of love to write on the card that goes with it? Because we know that Christmas is coming.
That Jesus should become man and save us from our sins is more than good reason to prepare, to anticipate. We want everything to be perfect for Jesus and for our beloveds when Christmas comes.
Just so, God the Father prepared for the coming of Jesus. He prepared for His divine Son a perfect Mother through whom He could come into the world.
This is how He prepared: God the Father knew that when the time came, from our Lord’s death on the Cross would flow graces that would never end, that would make it possible for Godlike powers to be given to men.
For example, He knew that our Lord would institute a sacrament through which grace would come to wash away the Original Sin inherited from Adam and Eve, and to fill the soul with marvelous beauty where God Himself could dwell.
In creating a Mother for His Son, God used this grace ahead of time – not to wash away Original Sin but to make a Mother whose soul was untouched by Original Sin.
This is what we mean when we speak of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, the name she used for herself when at last she told St. Bernadette who she was.
God does not live in time. He invented time for us so that we could keep track of ourselves, but He has no need of it, and in the foreverness of Heaven, He used all the magnificent graces
His divine Son poured forth from His death on the Cross in time to merit for our Lady a perfect soul from the instant He breathed it into being.
That is why, when Gabriel came to her in Nazareth, he could say, “Hail, full of grace….” That is why, when Mary went to visit Elizabeth, Elizabeth could cry out, “Blessed art thou among women….”
This does not mean that our Lady was conceived in a miraculous manner, as her divine Son was conceived.
She was born of the lawful union of Joachim and Anne, loving husband and wife. It does mean that at the moment the seed of life that was to become our Lady was united to her immortal soul, it was to a soul God had created perfect.
Our Lady was made immaculate so that when the time came for the plan of the Redemption to unfold, her pure and holy body would be a perfect resting place wherein the love of God – His Holy Spirit – would breathe and His divine Son would begin to live. This beautiful doctrine explained to the children on the vigil of her feast will help form the spirit in which the entire family will assist at the Mass in her honor and receive Holy Communion.
The great Advent mysteries in the life of our Lady relate in many ways to the knowledge we must give our children about their bodies.
Now we see again why we must have reverence and awe for our bodies. They are made for great and holy things.
All the little girls in the world who will grow up to discover that God’s will for them is to be wives and mothers will, as mothers, carry their babies the way our Lady carried her baby.
Every mother we see who is expecting a baby can remind us of our Lady. It is so good of God to have His Son come to us this way, and so sanctify the bearing of babies.
He could have come in thunder and lightning. He could have come like a wild storm riding the sun, driving the moon and the stars before Him.
But, loving us in our littleness and our struggles and our pains and worries, He chose to be like us in all things save sin, so that we would always know that God knows what it is like to be a man.
If we have children for whom it is time to learn something of the way babies are born, Advent is an especially appropriate time to continue with that part of sex instruction.
This carrying of babies within the mother’s body, is it not beautiful? This is how our Lady carried her Baby, close to her heart, protected and sheltered there by her own pure body. This delivering of babies, as we call it – the emergence of the baby from his mother’s body – is it not wonderful? It is God’s way.
He decided it was to be like this. If there were a finer way for it to be, He would have it be that way.
“Let us pray tonight and ask our Lady to help us have reverence for our bodies, and for the bodies of others, and never to do anything with them God does not want us to do.” These things and a host of others relating to the meaning and spirit of Advent make beautiful, rich, prayerful conversations that go with the making of gifts.
Some are for parent and child alone, some for the group; both ways, the treasury to explore is inexhaustible.
A person may have a sense of humor without being a professional humorist or comedienne. Relatively few are gifted to travel in this rarefied air. It is more difficult to write humor than scientific treatises. One obvious proof of this is that there are libraries full of scientific books while works of humor are few. One person is able to appreciate or even be enthralled by a sunset. Another is able to put the sunset down on canvas and thus convey it to others. One can love music. Another can create it. The second person is an artist. It takes special talents, the right environment, and application to bring about an artist. Comparatively speaking, real artists are rare. Although we could use more of them, yet life would become unbearable if all people became artists. God keeps a balance in nature. All birds cannot be singing canaries, and we are happy for it. Not many wives can be humorists or comediennes. Again, for this we can be grateful. But wives can have a sense of humor. They can have the fine perception of seeing things in their true perspective. A sense of humor is the faculty of being able to see through things, to see the real worth of things. It could be called a sense of equilibrium. Not being lopsided herself the woman with a sense of humor can detect the lopsided. Because her vision is in focus, she can see and enjoy the incongruous. A flower or a sunset is a reflection of a spark, so to speak, of God. But these beautiful things are not a part of God: so, a sense of humor keeps even the artist from going daffy over flowers and sunsets and becoming a Pantheist. The wife may feel strongly about flowers and sunsets, but she doesn't lose her sense of balance and become too serious about them. The most serious thing in life is sin. Food, drink, and gold are just materials to keep us alive, means whereby we work out our eternal destiny. They exist for us. When we begin to exist for them and become gluttons and misers, we sin. We lose our sense of humor. Our ability to see through things, our sense of humor, prevents us from getting too serious over gold, roast beef, and martinis. A sense of humor might be likened to a sort of casual sense of balance. It is mental relaxation. The bane of all athletes is to "tighten up." to get too serious over hitting home runs, high diving, and so forth. As soon as a golfer or bowler "tightens up," she is off her best form. A person without a sense of humor has a sort of mental "charley-horse." She "tightens up" mentally to the extent that her brain becomes sort of lame, unable to see things in their proper perspective. Many years ago an effort was made to involve me as referee in a sort of neighborhood civil war. Little junior, let us call him Willie Baxter, was three years old and full of lemonade one day. He wandered two doors down the street under the window of an aged spinster. With a reputation of being a neighborhood crab she lived alone on the second floor of her two-flat building. She had had her eye on Willie before he began to poach on her property. As he began to pick flowers under her window, she was all ready for this affront with a pail of water. Willie was not too sure what happened, but his instincts told him that it was time to high tail it for home. Before he could reach home base, the defender of public morals and private property had Willie's mother on the telephone blessing her out. Willie arrived looking as if he had just swum the Channel. His appearance spurred mother on to a more direct contact with the assailant of her child. She ended up a few safe yards from the spot of Willie's dastardly act and entered a screaming contest with the old lady. By this time the old retired fireman on the first floor came to life from a nap. Thinking that the building surely was on fire, he rushed out the side door with a pail of water. Misinterpreting the designs of the erstwhile firefighter, the young mother beat a hasty retreat to her home. She felt that at least one of the Baxters should keep her powder dry. In the meantime Willie had pretty much become used to his soggy breeches and was having another glass of lemonade. Mother could carry on and finish the feud. Willie felt that he had done his bit in starting it. Willie's mother lacked a sense of humor or at least lost it momentarily. Instead of sitting down and having a good laugh over the lesson, which her little Willie had learned the easy way, she lost her sense of perspective and ruined her disposition for the rest of the day. Unwittingly, of course, she provided high comedy for the neighbors. The world is full of unremunerated comediennes. Willie's mother went so far as to attempt to enlist her husband's support in feuding with the old lady. I am afraid that she even tried to nag him into "putting in his two cents." He, however, seemed to know that the poor old lady was a character and that little Willie received no mortal hurt. In fact, I would not be surprised if he did not have to force back a few chuckles over the episode in the bringing up of Willie. Anyone can understand that her mother's instincts might carry her away at first. A sense of humor would bring back balance as the hours passed. She would begin to see the humorous side of the episode and bear no resentment against the spinster. She would have been spared the nuisance of contending for hours and days with revengeful thoughts. If people are fortunate to be able to recover their mental equilibrium through a sense of humor, twice blessed are those who can see the humor of situations as they are developing. These wonderful people are a joy to themselves as well as to all who are privileged to know them. A young woman who possesses this crown of spiritual growth is a pearl of great price. If it is dangerous to get too serious over roast beef or gold or martinis, it is fatal to get too serious over oneself. The devil certainly lacked a sense of humor when he vaunted himself in the face of God. He took himself just a little bit too seriously and laughter went out of his life forever. The light bearer before the God of life became the demon of the shadows of death. Life is not a stage for buffoons. It is deadly serious. We walk a tight rope between heaven and hell. Of ourselves we can never make it. As long as we keep our faces turned up to God and our hands in His, we shall not lose our nerve and fall. Only those fall who think themselves to stand by their own merits.
I have added items to my shop, Meadows of Grace! Come take a peek! Click on the first picture to view the gallery.
On December 6 comes the feast of the Christmas saint, St. Nicholas, although most of our celebration of this feast comes on his vigil, December 5.
We find a puppet show a delightful way to tell his story, explain his relation to the Christ Child, and introduce the hanging of stockings for his feast day.
St. Nicholas was really a Turk born in Asia Minor. For a long time he was Bishop of Myra (near the southern coast of Turkey to the right of the Island of Rhodes – in case you look for it on a map).
An orphan, he grew in love of God, became a priest, and made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to venerate the places of our Lord’s life.
On the voyage, a terrible storm threatened to sink the ship, but by his prayers all were saved.
For this reason he is venerated as patron of boatmen, fishermen, dock workmen, and sailors.
Returning to his native land, he was made a bishop; his generosity and love for the poor and for children, as well as his many miracles, endeared him to Christian people all over the world.
He is also venerated as the patron of scholars, coopers and brewers, travelers and pilgrims, those who have unjustly lost a lawsuit, and as patron and annual benefactor of schoolchildren (especially boys), and is invoked against robbers and (in Holland) for protection of seafaring men.
Many legends surround St. Nicholas, among them the one saint story I personally cannot abide: the tale of the three little boys murdered and salted down in a tub is too much.’ We never tell it.
The story we like best is the well-known tale of the three marriageable daughters who were nevertheless unmarriageable for want of dowries. Hearing of their plight, the saint went silently by their house one night and tossed a bag of gold through the window for the oldest, who not long after found a husband for herself with no trouble at all.
Then he crept by a second time and tossed a bag of gold through the window for the second daughter, who likewise was suddenly at no loss for suitors.
As he was about to toss the gold through the window for the third daughter, the father of the girls caught sight of him.
Throwing himself at his feet, he thanked him, confessed his sins, begged his blessing. Plainly it is from this story that the tradition has grown wherein St. Nicholas is said to leave gifts, candies, and sweets on windowsills, in shoes, and even in the stockings of good little children.
It is the Dutch diminutive Sinter Klaas (“Sant Nikolaas”) that became, by way of the New Amsterdam Dutch, the familiar American Santa Claus.
It is among the Dutch also that we find the appearance of Black Peter, his page, who follows him, distributing switches, coal, straw – whatever – to the naughty children as St. Nicholas gives treats to the good. Black Peter appeared in the Dutch festival after the invasion of Holland by the Spaniards, who brought black servants with them.
“Telling the truth about Santa Claus” need not rob children of their Christmas magic. It adds to it with another feast to celebrate, another saint to know and love, another emphasis gently persuading them to meditate on the coming of the divine Child.
And if we really fear to take away that part of it which is surprise, that marvelous moment Christmas morning when the presents are at last mysteriously there, be assured the little ones continue to pretend.
Our littlest ones, knowing the truth, continue to pretend that it is all assembled in the most mysterious and magical fashion.
“But – then – who gives us the presents?” children will ask. “Who loves you most in all the world gives you the presents.”
“Who is that?”
They screw up their faces, think hard. Then suddenly all brighten: “You – and Daddy, and Grandma and Granny!”
It is like the circle that never ends. God loves mothers and fathers and gives them children they will love, and they teach the children about God, and the children love God, and since God wants them all with Him in Heaven, He sends His Son who loves them so much that He gives up His life for them, and that is so much love that it pays for their sins and buys back Heaven for them….
At Christmas everyone is so happy about all this that we all give each other presents. Shouldn’t that be the reason we give and receive presents?
It would be a little embarrassing to be asked, “Don’t you think the Christ Child is an adequate substitute for Santa Claus?” and feel you must answer no.
He really is and He must become the all of Christmas for families who are going to try to live lives of deep faith.
It is not really worth it to toss in this “little white lie” when we are trying so hard to teach children impeccable truthfulness.
Probably not all children who discover there is no Santa, when they have been told by their parents that there is, will consider their parents dyed-in-the-wool liars, but there is the danger that they will discount some of every other truth they are taught.
This is an age when accuracy and unadorned truthfulness are not particularly in vogue.
Yet a concern to speak the utter truth in everything will teach a child better than anything else how to be utterly truthful himself, how to be honest with his own conscience – which is the same thing as being honest with God.
Santa Claus is not a serious lie, but St. Nicholas in his rightful place, gazing with us at the Christ Child, is a much lovelier truth.
One thing, however, it is not cricket to do: go about the neighborhood telling all the children who do believe in Santa Claus that “there is none.”
This kind of revelation is guaranteed to leave nothing but heartache behind. Without proper explanation or background, it is really cheating a child of something he dearly loves.
Most children can learn to keep their own counsel about this; where there is disparity on the subject in the neighborhood, with love and tact the mothers can explain and help prevent unpleasant exchanges.
One of the traps into which most parents of goodwill eventually fall before Christmas has arrived is to shout in the heat of some shortness of tempers: “How do you expect to get presents on Christmas if you aren’t good now?”
No sooner are the words out of your mouth than you could bite off your tongue. But it has been said. The ugly implication is there: you might not get presents for Christmas.
St. Nicholas’s feast is an ideal time for straightening out this problem of being good and not being good before Christmas.
It is true that the issue should have something to do with the end result, but when we threaten this way, we forget that the reason God the Father sent the Christ Child wasn’t because everyone had been good, but because they hadn’t been good.
To transfer the burden of the “be good or else” problem to St. Nicholas is infinitely more comfortable.
Here the threat involves no more than a stockingful of cookies, but it is a prospect sufficiently dreadful to give them pause.
It also involves a happy solution to the naughtiness. No good behavior – no cookies. It usually works (I speak from experience).
The shock of seeing that you meant what you said, of hearing St. Nicholas warn you the night before and discovering he meant what he said, is most salutary.
Most enfants terribles will stand dolefully watching the more virtuous munching their cookies and make a superb effort to mend their ways, and yet the event is not of such magnitude that it leaves any permanent scars.
People always ask how we handle the delicate business of sharing should this occasion produce one or two malcontents without cookies.
We are all, of course, very sad to see they have no cookies, but if it is a warning and a punishment, then it is a warning and a punishment.
Character training is involved, and also your own authority. No cookies – shared or otherwise.
We got our stable put together on Monday. We were a day late but we had an excuse….we were gone for Thanksgiving so it snuck up on us!
No excuse on the Advent Wreath though. I keep forgetting to get the candles….
We also started our Spiritual Christmas Crib. It is such a fun, simple and lovely tradition so I thought I would remind you. You can get the instructions here.
The following are the pictures of our Stable. All the figurines will be added in slowly, with the Baby Jesus making His entrance after Midnight Mass.
I have also included pictures of the beginning of our Spiritual Christmas Crib.