I love this advent message by James d. Digiacomo/America magazine:
"In the weeks before Cristmas, our society will experience an extraordinary, temporary transformation. People of all faiths and no faith will be reaching out to eachother, renewing friendships, bonding with family, sharing many blessings and trying to help the poor and suffering around the world. It is not all as good as it could be and there will be personal calls to get beyond frantic shopping and put Christ back in Christmas. Despite all our human imperfections, many good things will happen that we can be a part of. We have to be perceptive and alert. God will try to come to each of us in many ways during these next few weeks. He may remind us of someone who used to be a friend until a quarrel or falling out took place a few months or years ago. Would this be the time to forgive or let go of the hurt? Are there Christmas cards or gifts to send to friends or acquaintances that really need our support?
Is there a relative that lives in a nursing home I should visit? Excess clothing to give away? These are not all earthshaking inspirations, but they are the stuff of goodness that comes through God's gentle nudging of our hearts and minds. If we are watchful and alert to God's grace, we can help to celebrate the coming of Christ into our world not just as something wonderful that happened a long time ago, but as something that continues on into our future. Jesus the Messiah and Emmanuel, God with us, now and forever! "