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December 19th, 2014
I find that it’s the simple things that remind you of family around the holidays. — Amy Adams

Christmas music trivia: "Away in a Manger," a traditional Christmas carol from the 19th century, contains a verse that some nitpickers out there consider to be theologically ambiguous. It’s argued that “no crying he makes” implies that Jesus could not have been fully human, the teaching in Orthodox Christian doctrine.

microchallenge

Today, avoid the complications of Christmas preparations and focus on spending time with family or reaching out to family across the miles.



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December 18th, 2014
It's not just about Christmas. While we do use Advent as a preparation time for our spirits preceding the Christmas season, the teachings and readings during Advent always have been tools to help us prepare for the second coming of Jesus. We believe Jesus is coming back to us some day and we need to be ready for that moment. What do you need to do or change in your life to be prepared?

Today, sit with someone who doesn’t interact with a lot of people during their day, and give $10 to Sister Rosemary’s ministry with child survivors of war in Uganda and Sudan.…

December 17th, 2014
The two Gregorys. Long ago, Advent lasted longer and was more about fasting and penance -- similar to Lent today. In the sixth century, Pope St. Gregory I enhanced the five Sunday liturgies of Advent to include more Advent-specific prayers, antiphons, readings and responses. In the 11th century, Pope St. Gregory VII reduced the number of Sundays in Advent to four, giving us more or less the Advent we have today.

Today, connect with someone for whom this time of year is painful and bring some joy to their day.…

December 16th, 2014
We must restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, spread love. Be poor among the poor. We need to include the excluded and preach peace. — Pope Francis
Is an Advent by any other name still an Advent? In many Eastern churches, the season of Advent goes by other names: St. Philip's Fast, The Nativity Fast, Winter Lent, and Christmas Lent. Like Western Advent, these are also seasons of preparation leading up to Christmas, but they more closely resemble Lent in that they typically last 40 days and are characterized by periods of fasting and abstinence.

Donate $10 or more to Busted Halo’s Holiday Fund Drive to help Busted Halo bring a message of hope, love, and peace to young adults who are disconnected from their faith.…

December 15th, 2014
A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away;
While quite unselfish, it grows small.
— Eva K. Logue
We have seen a great light. No, we're not talking about your neighbor's Christmas lights. Advent readings from Isaiah (specifically Isaiah 9:2) talk about darkness and light. There are plenty of examples of the darkness of the human spirit in today's world — violence, war, greed. The Light of Christ is here to guide us on a different path. What lights does God shine in our lives that turn us away from the darkness? Stop. Think of at least three examples of Christ's light shining in the world right now. Now, remember the story of Jesus — born in a dark stable at a time when a wicked king was out to kill him. Talk about darkness! But God’s light shines brighter than the darkness. Let us see where that light is shining this Advent.

Spend time working on a homemade gift for a family member or close friend today.…

December 14th, 2014
So, what's with the pink candle? As we begin the third week of Advent we are now more than halfway to our destination -- Christmas. Simply put, the pink candle and today's celebration of Gaudete Sunday mean: rejoice, don't lose heart, we are almost there. What are some reasons in your own life you tend to lose heart? Here's a great little activity for today: Grab some pink Post-It notes and write yourself little messages of hope to place all around your home, your workplace, your car, etc.

Today, tell someone close to you that you love them and speak some words of affirmation.…

December 11th, 2014
Let us be the ones who say we do not accept that a child dies every three seconds simply because he does not have the drugs you and I have. Let us be the ones to say we are not satisfied that your place of birth determines your right for life. Let us be outraged, let us be loud, let us be bold. — Brad Pitt

Donate $10 or more to Catholic Relief Services, working on the ground in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, educating communities on the facts of the Ebola virus. Working with local Caritas agencies, CRS both provides for immediate needs — food, water, and shelter — and plans for long-term healthcare strengthening.…

December 9th, 2014
Oh, Penny. I know you think you are being generous, but the foundation of gift giving is reciprocity. You haven’t given me a gift. You’ve given me an obligation. — Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory
Advent Movies Thanks to the website, TheCommonVision.org, for this great and unexpected list of movies that evoke the spirit of Advent: The Night of the Hunter, Hugo, Little Women, Wings of Desire, The Truman Show. (You should click on the link to read more on why these were chosen.)

Today, make a list of alternative Christmas gifts or gifts that give to those in need this holiday season. Here are some ideas.…

December 7th, 2014
When I’m on stage, I’m trying to do one thing: bring people joy. Just like church does. People don’t go to church to find trouble, they go there to lose it. — James Brown
What’s being read at Mass... During Advent this year, we’re hearing readings from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. One of our favorites! Isaiah says, "Prepare the way of the Lord." The phrase is repeated in Mark's gospel. So, what are Isaiah and Mark trying to say to us today? Get ready. Someone is coming who is going to turn things upside down. Isaiah says, "The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me ... God has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners." Jesus is coming to make a way for those with no way and he still needs our help today.

Today, send a message of encouragement to someone who is going through a tough time.…

December 5th, 2014
Patience is not simply the ability to wait — it’s how we behave while we’re waiting. — Joyce Meyer, televangelist

Today, while you’re waiting for something, try to keep a smile on your face the entire time.…

December 2nd, 2014
I usually grow this beard out around Christmas. I like to go to malls dressed as Jesus, and I like to then walk around the mall and go, “No! No! This wasn’t what it was supposed to be about, people!” — Marc Maron, comedian
Fa la la la la… Maybe you’ve just turned on your Christmas music or maybe you’ve been secretly listening to "Jingle Bells" since Halloween. Either way, you might be familiar with the Advent carol "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." This song has its origin in the great O Antiphons, a series of responsorial prayers that offer titles for the coming King (Jesus) like "O Wisdom" and "O Root of Jesse" (all of these titles are in the song). Later in Advent (December 17-23), the Church prays these antiphons during vespers. Get a head start with this video of the song (and lyrics).

Today, after a long weekend of spending in stores and online, participate in #GivingTuesday to kick off the giving season. Help Busted Halo connect you with the true meaning of Advent, Christmas, and other faith practices throughout the year. Donate $10 or more to Busted Halo today.…

November 30th, 2014
What to say when someone asks, "What's an Advent Calendar?" Show them this one! Advent Calendars help us anticipate or "count down" to Christmas and Jesus' birth. Advent is a season of preparation and waiting. So, hidden behind every day of the calendar is a surprise! (No peeking -- you have to WAIT for it!) You might find chocolate, an image, or in the case of Busted Halo's Advent Surprise Calendar -- an inspirational quote and spiritual challenge. Happy Advent!

Set an intention for Advent this year: Pick a way that you will slow down and behold God’s coming into the world.…

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