Carrying Christmas in our Hearts

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"Carrying Christmas in our hearts" by Amanda Villagomez (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2017 Amanda Villagomez. All rights reserved.

Silent night. Holy night. All is calm. All is bright. -Fr. Josephus Franciscus Mohr

During Advent we prepare our hearts and minds to receive Jesus. “Come, Lord Jesus, Come,” we pray. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day can be a swirl of activity. I appreciate moments where I can find some quiet to be still, pause and reflect — even if they are brief. During the Christmas season, I like to think ahead to how the preparation during Advent can carry forward throughout the year. There are some layers of my prayer life that I intend to maintain throughout the rest of my life unless my health prohibits it — daily Mass and weekly Adoration. However, other layers can change over time.

I love the verse, “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19). Like Mary, I reflect on my spiritual life in my heart. This Christmas I am beginning to pray through the book, Forty Weeks: An Ignatian Path to Christ With Sacred Story Prayer after hearing Sr. Miriam recommend it on a Formed.org talk (Formed.org membership required to play this video). The book focuses on scheduling a time and finding a quiet space to pray through the weeks. It explains that when doing the process as an individual, instead of as part of a group, the concept of a week can be flexible. Sometimes people will go at a faster pace while other times they will linger, repeating the weeks using their hearts as a guide and focusing on being unhurried.

For me, this will feel like carrying forward what I love most about Christmas throughout the year, those moments when amidst the busyness of life I intentionally carve out some space to slow down and reflect on the beauty of God and life in my heart.

Were you able to find some space to still your heart during Christmas? How have you/might you carry that forward throughout the year? Which devotions will you carry forward into the new year and/or what are you planning on changing this year?

People who live what they want to teach are better positioned to nurture others. If we already have solid prayer routines in our lives or once we do, we can consider how we can support others on their journeys, considering questions such as: How can I nurture responding to God’s call and Jesus’ model to have space for prayer into the rhythms and routines of my kids’ lives? As our own faith matures over time, we are able to contribute different insights.

Loving Lord, help us to carry forward the great gift of peace that you offer us throughout the year and then use us as instruments to nurture others in their faith lives. Give us the wisdom to prioritize our lives in order to make space for prayer to strengthen our relationships with you and grow in holiness.


Copyright 2017 Amanda Villagómez

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About Author

Amanda Villagómez is a DRE/Youth Minister and teacher educator. She lives in Oregon with her husband and four girls. She blogs at Focusing on the Core to reflect on the journey of attempting to align her life to what matters most in different contexts, while keeping her primary vocation in mind.

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