December 23, 2018

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
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PARISH ADVENT PROGRAM

WRAP YOUR GIFTS IN PRAYER
Unwrap the gift of God in Prayer. In the midst of Advent and Christmas busyness, we offer you a way to pray and to discover our God who is with us. Each season the preparation for gift giving can be a source of stress. This year can be different. Our Christmas practice of gift giving is intended to be a visible symbol of love and Christian service in action. Why not use our gift giving as a form of prayer? Wrapping your gift in prayer can add a spiritual dimension to an ordinary task.

Wrap Your Gift in Prayer
As you choose your gift, ask for God’s guidance and bring a prayerful awareness to the exchange. When you actually wrap your gift, whether in wrapping paper or in a gift bag, pray for the recipient. Ask God to fill them with light, love and the peace of Christmas. Cards and electronic greetings may also be wrapped in prayer.

Prayer Method Choices

  • Imagine visualize the person for whom you pray. Picture the Lord blessing them.
  • Speak pray out loud, “Lord surround (name) with your light; fill him/her with your peace.”
  • Sing a Christmas carol.
  • Gesture dedicate the use of your hand motions in wrapping as your prayer.
  • Hear simply repeat the person’s name knowing that the Lord hears our every word.
  • Recite a pre-written prayer, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Rosary . . .
  • Act reach out to someone in need of the gift of your care.
  • Bless – For difficult relationships pray: Lord bless (name) and transform me to set me free.

Sharing your Prayer with a Gift Tag
After wrapping your gift in prayer attach a gift tag that will be provided for you.

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Witnessing to your prayer by means of a Gift Tag is like giving an additional gift because it may lead the receiver to become more aware of God’s presence in her or his own life.Gift Prayer Tags are available at the church doors.

WORDS,MUSIC,SONG
Under the snow-covered roof of the tiny church of St. Nicholas in Obendorf bei Salzburg in Austria, Father Joseph Mohr was distressed. Father Mohr just learned that the church organ was unable to be repaired in time for midnight Mass. Musically, Christmas Eve would be a silent night. The priest prayed. God answered. Father Mohr remembered a poem he had written a few years earlier. He took the lyrics and ran to the home of Franz Gruber who was the church organist. Father said, “I’ve written some words that could be a hymn if you would write some music.” In response Gruber chuckled, “and what would I play it on the broken organ? All I have is a guitar, Lord help me.” And the Lord did.
At midnight the tiny church was not silent. Rather, they sang a hymn composed of words and music and prayer that we still sing today. They sang a hymn composed with faith as the key, they sang as love in action. What was the song? Silent Night.
The lyrics to Silent Night were written in 1818 – 200 years ago and have been sung every Christmas Eve since in over 149 languages. Silent Night continues to be the favorite Christmas hymn throughout the world.
Silent Night was not composed in a perfect setting. But with prayer and God’s help – a broken organ, a dusty old poem, a guitar and the willing voices of a Christmas congregation created a song of lasting beauty and eternal praise to God.
2000 years ago, the Christ child was born not in a perfect setting. But with God’s help and prayer, a child was born that would repair the world, sing of love to broken hearts, and create God’s beautiful music that sings beyond death to new life – a song sung forever – an eternal song of love in action.
Tonight/today you will receive a Christmas gift that has been wrapped in prayer by your priests and pastoral staff. The ornament proclaims that faith is our key and that we are called to be love in action. The ornament has 3 circles that join together to create a rainbow of colors. The symbol reminds us that like in the creation of the song Silent Night- it takes many parts to make a whole, and all of us to do Christ’s work.
In a song it takes words, music and a congregation to sing.
In God’s work it takes us, others and God. We are part of God’s work whenever we give a part of ourselves away as a gift.

Activity

  • As you place your Christmas ornament gift on your tree, thank God for your many gifts.
  • Thank God for the ways that your loving and kind words bring beautiful music into the world.
  • Pray for others who need to hear God’s song of unconditional love.
  • Pray that you will use this ornament to remind you that your gifts and talents and deeds create truth and beauty and goodness in our world.
  • Remember that you and your gift are wrapped in our prayer.
  • Remember the 200 year old Silent Night, and the words, music and voices that created the song.
  • Re-create the scene in that small church in Austria.
  • Read the words, hear the music and join in song as love in action.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                             To read complete bulletin click here