Sunday, December 31, 2006

Because nothing says New Year's Day like pickled herring...

I welcomed in the new year with pickled herring on pumpernickel bread (and washed it down with hot chocolate) at 12:10 a.m. Many cultures have New Year's traditions involving eating or doing something at midnight that symbolizes what (they hope) will come to them in the new year. I think that it's safe to say that, since I was awake at midnight, the coming year will bring me many late nights. Ah well, there are many worse things in life.

Anyway, I wish a happy, blessed, and holy new year to all (and to all a good night)!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006


As our society has commercialized Christmas to the point of nausea, Advent is a welcome antidote. In fact, it can intensify the experience of Christmas. Like Lent (although, of course, not exactly the same), Advent is a time of penance, a time to clear out the spiritual junk we’ve accumulated throughout the last year and start again. It is one of my favorite times of the Church year. It has an austere beauty and is one of the wonderful rhythms of the Church that helps me to anchor my life more firmly in Christ. I usually attend the 5:15pm Saturday Mass, which at this time of year begins when the daylight has already vanished. The light inside the church flares valiantly against the darkness outside that presses palpably at the windows. I find this a powerful reminder of both the One we are waiting for and the people we are called to be. Just as Jesus is the Light of the World who “shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (NAB, John 1:5), so, too, are we called to shine amid the darkness of this world’s sin and suffering.