Category Archives: Our Faith

A child in Cochabamba, Bolivia is delighted by her new gift. Photo by Janelle  Witzaney

Gifts of Love and Thanks

Advent is an exciting time at Chalice because we see an outpouring of love in many different forms. This deluge of the heart is no accident, it is prompted by the anticipation of the Lord’s arrival. It is from our natural inclination of wanting to be close to Christ that we desire to share the gift of love with others. The beauty of expressing love is in our creation. The Lord has made each and every one of us an individual who shows our love in very different ways.

In his book Life is Worth Living, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen says, “Nothing ever happens in this world that does not happen first inside human hearts.”  Naturally we look to prayer when we want to make something happen inside the human heart. Through prayer we are making a connection with the Lord which, in turn, connects us to all of His children. Prayers open hearts and can create tangible expressions of love.

When Chalice supporter’s hearts are moved to give, our hearts are also stirred. Deacon Danny MacDonald, our School and Parish Administrator says even a task as simple as opening the mail during Advent is deeply inspiring because we see the generosity of people.  Deacon Danny also said the love and generosity does not stop at our individual supporters. One parish wanted to encourage others to give donations for mosquito netting from our Chalice Gift Catalogue. In order to show their solidarity with our work, the parish covered their nativity scene in mosquito netting!

When the Three Wise Men visited Jesus after his birth, they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. There is a major significance attached to these gifts because the Wise Men were not only acknowledging the importance of the birth of Jesus, but they were also giving gifts of love and thanks for the Son of God’s arrival. Living in Canada has afforded us the opportunity to be able to give gifts that express our gratitude for all of God’s blessings. When we share our blessings with others, we give gifts from the heart, letting the recipient know they are one of God’s children and they are loved. Chances are the recipient of that gift will experience a movement inside their heart that will allow them to pass the love on in a meaningful way.

The month of December, admittedly, is a very busy time of year, but it is also a time where our hearts are open and we are ready to celebrate Christmas. So go fourth and spread your gifts from the heart with others. Whether in the form of a kind greeting, lending an ear to listen or buying a gift – spread joy this Christmas and create tangible expressions of love.

By Heidi Hlubina – Parish Coordinator

Cover photo by Janelle Witzaney – Solidarity Tour Volunteer

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Advent: Savour the Wait, Savour the Chocolate!

I am not a patient person. It just doesn’t come to me naturally. I’m a true millennial, raised in a world of instant gratification, and I don’t like having to wait. As a child, I always had an Advent calendar, and being forced to eat only one little chocolate square per day was torture!

And yet there is wisdom in waiting. Advent chocolate was a special treat specifically because it involved patience and baby steps – if I’d eaten all 24 pieces at once, it would just have been a big chocolate bar, here and then gone. Instead, it left an impact on me because it was slow and deliberate. Advent calendars were a special treat because of the waiting involved.

Even now, as an adult, Advent leaves me impatient. It’s hard not to be excited for Christmas – time with family and friends, good food and good wine, presents galore. Without thinking, I sometimes find myself wishing for Advent to speed by. But like the little pieces of chocolate behind each window in my Advent calendar, each day and week of Advent brings a little piece of joy that should be celebrated.

I’ve come to value Advent as a time of spiritual renewal. The holidays are a hectic time of year, with shopping to do, lots on my plate at work, loved ones traveling. It’s easy to get caught up in the details – my budget for this gift, my coffee date with that person. Advent is an opportunity to slow down and focus on the One worth waiting for, the One whose birth is the reason this is a time of celebration.

As a kid, once I ate one of my chocolates, there was nothing to do for the next 24 hours except wait passively. But Advent is a different kind of waiting, an active waiting. We wait for Jesus by spending more time in prayer, by receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation, by giving generously to those in need. Waiting for Jesus is never sitting around, twiddling our thumbs – it’s spending more time with Him and living out His calling for us.

The miracle of Christmas – God the Father sending His only Son, divinity taking on flesh, all out of unconditional, overwhelming love for us – is one that needs preparation. Amid the busyness of December, set aside time to prepare your heart for the arrival of Jesus. If, like me, patience is not your strength, then filling your Advent with active waiting will help much more than chocolate rations!

By  Jenna LeBlanc, Sponsor Representative & International Department Administrator