LIVING

A sweet and sour dish inspired by Our Lady of Lourdes

Merry Christmas and happy new year! About this time in the Christmas season I am reminded of the crèche my brother used to set up in his yard. Among streets lined with bins heaped with discarded trees and remnants of gift wrap, the Magi would continue their journey across the yard with precious gifts in hand, each day bringing them closer to the scene of Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus. The journeying Magi evoked delight and sometimes confused amusement from passers-by, and I like to imagine the sight may have prompted a question and search into why the Magi were still journeying after Christmas Day. This memory has become for me a gentle superlative example of how our personal joy and delight in Christ can naturally and simply become a way of evangelization. We need not even know it.

Advent and Christmas stories to share

Every year of their childhood on the feast of St. Nicholas, December 6, my friend Rebecca’s children awoke to a stack of rectangular wrapped gifts next to their shoes. St. Nicholas always brought them books. On Christmas we celebrate the Word Made Flesh. Why not savor beautiful words from great stories during this Advent and Christmas season to prepare your heart — and the hearts of those in your family — to receive the Word with joy?

Seek the wisdom of Solomon this Christmas

I did not always like Ecclesiastes. For many years, I found this biblical book of reflections, traditionally attributed to King Solomon, disenchanting. God doesn’t speak directly in the book and it has a dark, almost melancholy tone. I felt as if Solomon was saying, “Can’t win, don’t try.” When I shared my complaints about Ecclesiastes with my pastor at the time, Father Jack Shrum, he told me simply, “You need to read it again.” It took me a while to do it, but I’m glad I did.