Dear Loving Brothers, Sisters and Children in Christ Jesus!
A NEW YEAR in the Church’s calendar begins today. Happy new year to all!
This period is appropriately called “Advent”. It comes from the Latin
word adventus which simply means ‘coming’. But whose coming are we talking
about? Obviously we are beginning to prepare to remember God coming to be a
human being among us, with us and like us.
Actually, at this time we can speak of three comings of God. The first, is when
Jesus, the Son of God came to be born in the stable at Bethlehem. But today’s
Mass also speaks of the final coming of Jesus at the end of the world. And there is
still a third kind of coming we need to be aware of, namely, when God enters our
lives every day. Every single experience can be an opportunity to make contact
with God. And we are reminded of that ongoing contact with God especially in the
celebration of the sacraments, including this Eucharist.
The First Reading invites us to go with God. It says, “Let us go together to the
Temple of God.” Of course, we know that for us Jesus himself is the real Temple
of God. And, because of that, the body of the Christian community united with
Christ its Head is also God’s Temple. And we go to him and with him because “he
will teach us his ways that we may walk in his paths”. He will show us the way for
us to follow on our pilgrimage through life, the way that will lead us to meet him
on that last day on earth.
Instead, we need to develop our relations with God and with our brothers and
sisters based on a caring and unconditional love for all. We need to learn how to
find God, to find Jesus in every person, in every experience. We need to respect
every person as the image of God. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves, to
love everyone just as Jesus loved us.
If, in our words and actions, our daily lives are full of the spirit of Jesus, then we
have prepared. We do not need to be anxious about the future or what will happen
to us. Concentrate on today, on the present hour, the present situation and respond
to it in truth and love and the future will take care of itself. Then we do not have to
fear no matter when Jesus makes his final call. Because we know he is going to
say: “Come, my friend. I want to call you now; I want to share with you my life
that never ends.” And we will respond: “Yes, Lord, I am ready. I have been
waiting for you all this time.” It will be an encounter, not of strangers, but of two
old friends. Amen.
COLLECTIONS: - Sunday, November 24 th , 2019 – ICC - $736.00
St. Margaret’s - $278.00
Big Sky Cum Christo
Give yourself a Christmas present - you deserve it - a gift that will be
faith-building and life-changing! Experience a Cum Christo Weekend,
which will be held in Great Falls at the Heisey Youth Center.
Men: January 9-12, 2020
Women: January 16-19, 2020
Team members needed too. Get an application online
at bigskycumchristo.org OR call Dcn. Pete Woelkers 406-899-7383,
Monica Woelkers 406-750-1668 or Carmen Thorsen 761-1805.
Celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception will be on
Monday, December 9 th at noon.
An online Advent devotion for those interested can be found at
dynamiccatholic.com. It is called Have Your Best Advent Ever.
Children’s Christmas program will be December 15 th .
If you would like to donate flowers in remembrance of family members
at Christmas, the Environment Committee would like white poinsettias
or other white Christmas flowers to use for Christmas decorating.
LITURGY COMMITTEE MEETING, December 3 rd , 4:00 pm in the Church.
At the November Parish Council meeting and at a subsequent special
meeting, it has been decided that the scheduled council elections will not
be held until June 2020.
After reviewing our Parish Council constitution, it states that “The terms of
members will be for three (3) years, with each term beginning on July 1 st .
The term of office will be determined by a rotation of one-third each year.”
Our council has not been in compliance with these articles of the
constitution, but we plan to be compliant by July of next year!
St. Margaret’s Bulletin
Bowls and other items left from the Harvest Dinner are in the entryway of the church.
Please stop by and check out what is on the bench in the entry.
Angel gift tags will be posted on the church bulletin board on Tuesday evening,
November 26. Gifts need to be returned by December 6. If you don’t have time to go
shopping and you wish to help with this project you can give a monetary donation to
Margee Bronec or Trish Eklund.
Reflection by Trish
The season of Advent begins December 1. Many people have begun decorating their
homes and yards. I thought it might be good to be reminded of the meaning of some of
the symbols we use to celebrate the season of Christmas. Over the past 2000 years
many of the traditions and symbols have had twists and turns. As people from one
culture moved to another place or as what was available in one climate may not be
available in another, much of the history of how something became a common symbol
has its twists and turns through history.
Here is a brief definition of the meaning of some of the symbols that are popular. As we
decorate using some of the items listed below think about how the symbol calls us to be
followers of Jesus during the season.
Angels—Symbolize all the angels in the Christmas story. The choir of angels
announced Jesus’ birth. Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce she would be the
mother of Jesus along with the angel that spoke to Joseph telling him to take Mary as
Christmas Lights—Christ is light to the world. When you look at all the bright lights
everywhere how wonderful to think about the light of Christ. Interestingly, during the
Christmas season, the Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, also called the “Festival of
Bells—Have been used for centuries to gather the faithful. The ringing of the bell tells
the community it is time to come together. Christmas is a great time to ring the bells to
announce the birth of Jesus.
Evergreen tree – This tree looks green and alive all year long symbolizing our life with
Jesus. When we die to this life we live on in our New Life. The evergreen is a symbol
of the Resurrection that Jesus came to proclaim.
Wreath—The circle is a symbol of life that never ends. The evergreen is the same as
the evergreen tree. The Christmas wreath says that our belief in Jesus is that we come
from the Creator God and will return to that Great Love.
Star—The star lead the astrologers to where Jesus was and lit up the sky over the
place where Jesus was.
Dove—When the angels appeared to the shepherds they said, “Glory to God in the
Highest and on earth peace to people of good will.” The Dove has long been the
symbol of peace. Jesus came to bring peace.
Gifts—Jesus is God’s gift to the world. In the Eastern Orthodox Church the big
celebration of the season takes place on the Epiphany, January 6, when the magi
arrived and gave gifts to Jesus. That is the day gifts are exchanged in Orthodox
cultures. Gift giving is said to have become more common due to St. Nicholas who was
a bishop in the 4 th century. With St. Nicholas’ example of generosity and giving people
began giving gifts at Christmas.
Manger Scenes—Nativity scenes were in church as early as the 4 th century. But St.
Francis of Assisi in the 13 th century is the individual responsible for taking the Crèches`
out of churches and making them popular.
As you prepare for Christmas take some time this Advent season for some quiet pauses
to focus on the spirit of the season. Getting ‘everything’ done should not be the main
priority. Rather focus on the reason you are doing each of the tasks you undertake.
Are you busy just to say you completed your list, or are you focusing on being and
preparing for the celebration of Christmas by:
Being a gift to others
Bringing peace wherever you are
Helping others experience joy in life
Being a shining light that brings hope
Being an angel for someone in need
Letting those you encounter know they are lovable
By taking life a bit slower, pausing and thinking about your spiritual compass, and
getting direction of how to make the holiday truly meaningful for others maybe the most
important thing on your ‘to do list’ this holiday season.