The Third Sunday in Advent 2008 -- REJOICE in the Lord, for the Lord is at Hand

(Holy Card re-print permission granted from "Holy Cards for Your Inspiration"
http://thewindowshowsitall.blogspot.com )

Rejoice in the Lord! For the Lord is at hand!

Our joy during Advent is because we, Catholics and Christians, know that Jesus is near us and is coming closer to us each and every day. We, not Jesus, are the ones who separate ourselves from Him through our own sins, whether petty or large.

Joy comes naturally when we have Jesus in our lives and when we welcome Him to live in our hearts, minds, and souls each and every day of our lives on this plane called earth. We are at our most unhappiest when we walk without Him. . . we are the lost sheep without our divine Shephard. We can NEVER find joy in things that separate us from our Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That type of joy and happiness is ELUSIVE . . . FLEETING. In fact, the wrong 'things' and paths that we have or take in our earthly journey home to our Father only bring us more misery and sorrow. And oh how I can attest to this, having, you know, "been there, done that"! I have lived so much of my life in darkness before and it was all because I was not living a Christ-filled life. Thank God, in His divine grace, gently woke me up to look up at Him instead of at other people and things! Praise the Lord for His "Amazing Grace" to save a poor wretch like me. But oh how I need to continue to improve each and every day in my attempts to live as Christ and our Father want me to live.

As we read in Psalm 71:7 --
Sing for JOY,
O Heavens, and exult, O earth.
Break forth, O mountains into singing,
for our Lord is coming!
Christ and our Divine Father are the wellspring of our joy and happiness. Let us remember to stay close to God so that nothing and nobody can take away our joy and our inner peace.

It seems that everyone you talk to today has reasons to be unhappy. For example, my husband was informed that his department at his university will be eliminated in the next four years (so that those students enrolled in his programs can graduate). He will be 70 years old at that time. I told him that when God closes one door, he opens another and that this is perfect timing anyway, because that is the age at which my husband wants to retire from his current vocation anyway. The sad thing is that my husband never thought that this would be the way his career would end . . . the dissolution of a discipline that he so dearly has loved and been so dedicated to.

But there are so many state budget cuts currently throughout our nation in this economic situation. I just pray that people could understand that social services to OUR PEOPLE of this great nation cannot ALL be cut.....most especially public education, the field that helps so many people lift themselves out of situations that they don't want to find themselves in! Yet, through all of this bad news, my husband remains joyful because he knows that there is a divine hand in everything.

And yet there are still so many people who are worse off than us with so many problems these days. Thankfully, Christmas is truly about our Lord's birth and not about monetary things that so many people have been socialized to believe. I think those that are the most materialistic are having 'some' of the hardest times right now with how they are being forced to live without so many unnecessary luxuries. Luxury items were reported to be down in sales by approximately 20% for this month. Please understand that I am not referring to the poor, homeless, and jobless who have genuine hardships that we can and should help them with. JOY IS IN GIVING . . . not getting.

There is more that I wish to write about on this subject of joy and bringing joy into others lives by little gestures and kindnesses, and I'll write again shortly, when I can. I hope you'll join me in this little chat!

Amore' and JOY!

~ Bella

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CHRISTMAS IS NEAR! The celebration for our Lord's birth is cause for our JOY!

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