Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pulkudilil Kalthottiyil

Kaalithozhuthil Pirannavanae

Walking with Mary - Day 17

Continuing our journey with Mary, it certainly is a rough and tough one. If we don't feel so, then we probably are not with Mary. She experienced times of sorrow and despair, but she always trusted in the Lord.

Looking at Mary, she was submitting herself in the hands of our Lord and letting God's plan work.  Mary stays as the symbol of hospitality and the center of Holiness. One of the most valuable strengths Mary possessed was her ability to persevere. She went through many trials in her life, but she never lost sight of the Lord. She used her complete trust in God and her strong will to overcome obstacles and setbacks.

Personally, I am trying my best to please everyone around me - either by talking less, or by maintaining a low profile. The lesser I talk, least are the chance of hurting anyone.

We have Christmas carolers arriving at our house tonight - to announce the birth of Jesus. We are arranging our house for their arrival, and have too many things to accomplish - especially since our's is the last house.  At home we really lack the presence of a responsible person who can help us organize and get ready - but could not find any. This is the first time carolers are coming to our house and about 99% of them have never been here before. My worries ended when I saw Mary's face this morning, and stopped looking any further.  Mother Mary's presence alongside us is a tremendous relief and boosted my energy - I believe she is with us.

This year, we decorated our house in a simple way to create a festive mood, but we consciously skipped one item - the Christmas Tree.  It was to respect the death of a former church member, who passed away last month, and also to remind me about his funeral service. We decided to pay homage to this individual in the midst of our celebrations by skipping the one item and instead having a mini wall tree.

God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus because she possessed traits of holiness, piety, and humbleness. While walking with Mary, let's certainly look forward for the wonderful finale.


Christmas gifts

Picking gifts is an art and only the wise can pick them appropriately!

Giving gifts during Christmas is a norm - it started with the 3 wise men bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Gold is the gift for a king, an expensive gift symbolizing belief that Jesus was born to be a king. Frankincense is the gift for a priest, reminding us that Jesus is the ultimate High Priest. Myrrh was an unusual gift for a child. It's a precious spice or perfume used to anoint a body at death. Myrrh was a prophetic gift because Jesus had come to die to be our Savior.

King, Priest, Savior - three appropriate and meaningful gifts which reveal to us, at Christmas, who Jesus is.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Love

Here is a miraculous true story of finding the sacred meaning of Christmas, narrated by a parent, that took place during a school's holiday pagent.


Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations – extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for his school’s “Winter Pageant.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there’d be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.

Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise. So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats.

As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.

Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as “Christmas,” I didn’t expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son’s class rose to sing, “Christmas Love,” I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row- center stage – held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.

As the class would sing “C is for Christmas,” a child would hold up the letter C. Then, “H is for Happy,” and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, “Christmas Love.”

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter “M” upside down – totally unaware her letter “M” appeared as a “W”.

The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one’s mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her “W”. Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.

A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.

For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:

“C H R I S T W A S L O V E”

Credits: Candy Chand

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Miracles do happen

Holiday season is here, as schools and offices are closing down for the celebrations - there was a holiday party before I left to the airport today.  I reached home about an hour ago (usual time), and do not have to travel for work until Jan 9th, next year. That does not mean I can enjoy the holidays - rather will be working and checking my team's work and progress throughout the 'holiday season.'

I noticed is that  I am loosing lots of hair since this assignment started. Irrespective of how my project is turning out, I am going to maintain a smiley face.

It's wonderfully nice to be home for the holidays and be around with family members. This is 'that time of the year' when miracles happen, and yes - I believe in them. Every Christmas, I watch the movie, "Miracle on 34th Street" and tell myself, "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."

Having faith enables us to 'visualize' those miracles. Sometimes, we just cannot explain them - yet we can experience them.

Have faith, and believe.


Practice on Saturday

Below are couple of messages I received - one from our Sunday school principal, Jaysee, and another from our Church secretary, K.K. Mathews.

In a nutshell - Schedule your Christmas program practice Saturday morning, and while you are there offer a helping hand to decorate the church if time permits.

Dear teachers,

We received the request from some of the parents to have the pratice session on Saturday morning so that the kids can go for carols in the afternoon. The teachers who were planning to have the practice in afternoon are moving their practice sessions to morning. So lets all plan to have the practice in the morning and give kids the chance to take part in the carols as well.

It will be good if we all can start around 9AM and wrap it by 12 noon.


Dear all,

Kindly note that this week end's Carol visit is on Dec.17 th Saturday afternoon [ not on Friday.]
We have no Carol visit on this Friday.

We need some volunteers to do  Christmas decorations in our church premises this Saturday morning.
Those who find it convenient please join the team on Saturday at 9:30 AM in the Church Fellowship Hall.

With prayers and regards,

K.K.Mathew ,Secretary

Monday, December 12, 2011

Walking with Mary - Day 12

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." - Hebrews 11:6

During the original christmas eve, the night when Mary gave birth to Jesus in the manger, there were two group of people who came seeking Jesus - the shephards and the 3 wise kings.

The shepherds were ordinary people - 'social nobodies' with no educational background, fame or riches.  It was purely through their faith they were able to witness the remarkable evening. How lucky those shephards were - to witness that heavenly night. Even today, it's possible to witness Jesus through faith.

The three kings who visited must have started their journey days or even months ago, to witness the night.  They were seekers - seeking the birth of the king.  Even though they were from another religion and belief, they were willing to seek the King. Even today, the wise men seek Jesus.  

When teenage Mary witnessed these guests who arrived to see her child, she must have been thrilled. Especially when she saw the kings bringing them gifts.