Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Very Special Christmas Party

This Advent has been a great blessing for me.  I feel God has been with me in so many, many ways during these days.  And so I guess it shouldn’t be strange that I felt a desire to throw Him a Christmas party, but it was something I had never done before.
When I went to the adoration chapel late this night, I began my Evening Prayers with the Rosary, as I usually do.  I prayed the Joyful Mysteries tonight, and quickly felt at home saying them --- they were right for this time of year, and I resolved to remember to pray them each night this week up to Christmas Day.  Using the Joyful Mystery meditations I wrote a few years back (you can find them somewhere on this blog), there was a very rich conversation between Jesus, Mary, and I.  The adorers from the previous adoration hour bid their farewells after a bit, and we exchanged Christmas wishes, and then I was alone with Jesus, and I prayed the Rosary aloud.  I looked forward to my next plans for the night, when the lock of the chapel doors clicked open, and a young man walked in and knelt down.  This was most unusual for 1AM, and in my heart I was a bit disappointed.  Not only did I stop saying the Rosary aloud, but his presence would disrupt my private plans for the rest of the evening.  But even this, well, this might be the will of God, and so I silently assented to whatever He wished.  But the young man only stayed a few minutes, and I completed the Rosary telling Jesus all the things I wanted to thank Him for, for the events surrounding His birth.
After the Rosary, the party began.  I had brought my CD player to the chapel, and so Jesus and I, alone, listened to the beautiful Christmas singing of Andrea Bocelli.  His Christmas album is like no other; it was glorious.  From White Christmas to The Christmas Song to Adeste Fideles, the chapel rang with the words of his glorious praise of God.  And as Bocelli sang, I opened and read the Christmas cards I had received and brought to the chapel, reading each greeting, each letter, while often looking up at Jesus on the altar.  And I gave Him thanks for these beautiful people who He has put in my life.  I am so blessed.
 But before I knew it I heard the click on the chapel door locks again --- my replacement adorers arrived, interrupting my revere, and my tears.  I begged: “I’d like to hear the end of this, please,” and they silently nodded their assent --- as Andrea sang Silent Night. 
And they were crying too.
In all my life I don’t think I’ve been to a Christmas Party which gave me such joy, and I believe it gave Jesus joy also.  It was a very special Christmas Party, honoring “the Birthday Boy.”   It was a great privilege for me to be there.


  1. Tom.
    Haven't been reading your blog of late, and am just catching up on your most recent posts now. Just read about your Very Special Christmas Party at Adoration.
    I have to say, Now THAT is beautiful!
    Merry Christmas, and thanks for sharing that special moment with Our Lord. It brought great joy to my heart just to imagine you doing this.

    1. I pray you had a Joyous Christmas Day, Fran, and are finding much grace this season. As I mentioned at the start of this particular posting, the entire Advent season has been a huge blessing for me this year; if you have time, go back to the beginning of December and begin reading. It has been a special time. And with all that was going on, it was only this past Tuesday when a friend insisted on helping me put of my Christmas tree. And like everything else this Advent, that timing too seemed appropriate.

      Relative to the Christmas Party I threw for Jesus (and, really, He for me), near the end I recalled something from the Old Testament, and I think I really understood what David felt, as he danced in front of the Lord. Oh but if I had rhythm, I too would have loved to dance in front of Him this night.

  2. Tom, I did have a very beautiful Christmas. I was able to keep Advent in a very quiet and spiritual way this year, having cut way back on my T.V. watching (mostly just the weather! and sometimes The Bernie Mac Show or Andy Griffith, and I do like the *real crime* shows, like Snapped, Forensic Files, or FBI Files.) Anyway, since my mom passed this year, we would not be putting up a tree for her, and my brother who helped care for her has hated the commercialization of Christmas for a long time, so we agreed not to buy presents for each other, so my Advent was not inundated by the secular rushing of Christmas. In early December I did purchase a few items from our parish giving tree for needy families, but that was the extent of my Christmas shopping.

    Anyway, I was able to attend Midnight Mass (done exquisitely at St. John Cantius Church, (Extraordinary Form High Mass), my parish in Chicago. Look up cantius.org on the internet to see about them, if you're not familiar.) I had promised to light a candle for the brother (age 77) of a lady I know. He had fallen away from Catholicism a long time ago, but now, after a stroke, seems to be open to coming back. She had mentioned, on Dec. 23, that it was the feast of St. John Kenty that day, and she prayed to him for her brother, but had never heard of him. Well, I was astounded because that is St. John Cantius! So taking this as a sign, I told her I would light a candle for her brother at Midnight Mass, and pray especially to St. John Cantius for his intercession for her brother.

    Then, since I had no other commitments for Christmas Day (the first time in YEARS!) I decided to drive up to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in New Franken, Wisconsin. It's about 3 1/2 hours from me. I left at 7:15 to get there for the 11:00 am Mass. I had hoped to get there for the 10:30 Rosary, but I was about 10 minutes late (rats!). I was trying to get a bunch of Plenary Indulgences for the Poor Souls (saying the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament, and going through the Holy Doors of Mercy: the Shrine is a designated pilgrimage site for the Year of Mercy.) Then, the priest, right after Communion (which I had made sure to ask him before Mass if I could receive again since I went at Midnight Mass. He said I could.) invited us all to say a prayer to Our Lady (which they have printed in the cover of their song book) and offer our Holy Communion for the conversion of sinners. It was absolutely beautiful. (cont.)

  3. (cont.)

    After Mass I finished the parts of the Rosary I had missed, lit a candle for some special intentions, prayed before the Crib, then went down into the "grotto" to pray at the spot where Our Lady appeared. I just wanted to visit with her a little while, and thank her for all the blessings I had received this past year. I just wanted to sit with her, be close to her a little while, on the feast of her great joy.

    It was a lovely couple of days, but when I read what you did at Adoration just before Christmas, well, I was just blown away. What sticks with me is this: You said, "In all my life I don’t think I’ve been to a Christmas Party which gave me such joy." They tell us this all our lives, that worship and love and gratitude to God brings great joy, yet we dummies often pursue every other thing the world says is better, usually with marginal results. I used to go to worldly parties and think, as I was coming home, "when was the fun supposed to start?" I could sense your joy right through the computer as you described it. It blessed me just to read what you did, and imagine the joy in heaven over it. So cool.

    As for the timing of you putting up your tree: we always, my whole life, put up the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. Always. Old Polish tradition. (Advent doesn't end until sunset on Dec. 24th.) If I ever put up a tree of my own, (I have all the fixin's, just not the energy or drive to put one up!) I'll always put it up on Christmas Eve, and take it down either on Epiphany (if the tree is really dry) or even wait until Feb. 2, Candlemas Day, following the Church calendar.

    And I loved, just loved your story of what you did for the clerk at the 7-11. And I love that she got $75 dollars out of it! I can imagine she will tell that story for the rest of her life to lots of different people. And your deed of mercy will spread where you know not, like ripples in a still pond! I love when our good deeds hit the mark!

    And they wonder why St. Francis went around filled with joy! I think we have a glimpse of it every now and again.


  4. (cont.)
    I was also very touched and moved at the passing of Mary Ellen Jones, because I think I remember your post about her, and how kindly and tenderly she cared for her husband with Alzheimers. I had always wished for this kind of passing for my mom, but God had something for us to do at the end of her life: that is, to be witnesses for life for the doctors and nurses at the hospital where she spent her last days. I think she affected many souls in those final days, and choices were made by many, for good and evil.

    On about the 6th day of my mom's hospitalization, they moved her to a regular room and the next day she got a new roommate; a wonderful, prayerful African American lady. I felt like this lady was sent to be my powerful prayer partner as I dealt with the main doctor who seemed to be very antagonistic and furious at me wanting my mom to live. The minute this lady came into the room I knew she was sent to help. Man, Tom, she knew it too. She wasn't seriously ill, but was waiting for a bed to open at a rehab facility near her home, since she'd had a mild heart attack. She asked me almost right away if she could pray for my mom. I told her I needed her help very much, and asked her to intercede as much as she felt led. I have no idea what denomination she was, but I could tell she walked with Jesus. She was still there four or five days later when my mom died. They had moved my mom out of that room when she took the nosedive (the infection reasserted itself) and put her in a private room in light of the inevitable. But God is good. God is so, so good.

    But when I read about Mary Ellen's passing, I said a little prayer, and I thought, it must have been for her like simply stepping out of bed and into Eternal Life. So simple. So quiet. I will say a little prayer for her and for Clinton too. Now, they are together once again, in the fullness of Life.

    (Boy this is LONG!!!!)

    God bless Tom, and Merry Christmas. May all your days be bright!