Midnight mass memories.

2011 has almost come and gone.

I have to admit I love the cooler weather and getting a chance

to pull out the old sweaters.

It’s a chance to over indulge in my favorite season's drink..

Southern Comfort Eggnog.

I enjoy taking in some long drives to check out the beautifully

decorated homes around the neighborhood.

But I too, find it difficult to avoid getting caught up in the commercialism.

Yet Christmas has always been a very special time for me.

As some of you know, I spent many of them away far from my wife and  

son (when I was in the military).

The one thing that was a constant; was that no matter what country

I found myself in, I would always look forward to attending

a midnight mass ceremony.

There were incredible memories from having attended midnight masses overseas…

from the midnight mass at an Armenian church in Achrafiyeh Lebanon,

to the Bavarian and beautiful Wieskirche in Germany,

which is also called the Pilgrimage Church of the Scourged Saviour,

and a beautiful Melkite Greek Catholic church in Amman, Jordan.

Each will always hold very special memories.

A few hours spent in joyful worship helped me celebrate this special

day's true meaning.

It still inspires a special sense of spirit that is almost difficult to explain. 

My spirit seems to gravitate to a greater degree of gratitude and generosity.

Christmas brings me serenity, a peace filled and tranquil spirit

and a solemn resignation in my heart.

It makes me pray that much harder for Peace around the gloce, 

and especially for the safe return of all of our uniformed men and women. 

A sense of a divine resignation that roots deep in my heart,

squares up the past month's hurt feelings and disappointments.

It is by far the greatest gift I could ever ask for.

So this morning I pray that you too are awakened to a more patient

inner voice, one that tells you to be more open to understanding,

rather than insisting on being understood.

That you will grow to be even more generous,

and may you find it easier foe goodwill to guide your every action.

I pray that more people around the world discover the essence of Christmas.

That moment by moment we grow ever more grateful for all that is good in our lives.

That we acknowledge with heartfelt appreciation all those

that accept us even with our faults.

That we never forget to demostrate our appreciation to everyone

that loves, supports and nurtures us.. and as often as possible.

This Christmas holiday I wish you continued growth, personal happiness,

and the success you've so worked hard for,,

as well as the all important stamina and good health.

May this Christmas be not so much the opening of presents,

but the unwrapping of our hearts.

Make it a grateful día and a memorable Christmas Eve!

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