Saturday, November 28, 2015
It was for an issue of ''Liber Divin'' which I penned, for a time, while clashing with editorial direction for most of that run, that I concocted just such a calendar... But that is another story!
This year, have no fear - I want to repeat the experience and make it really special!
Hence I give to you... a truly luminous take on what an Advent calendar is supposed to look like!
Although others will have given you extensive lists of what to do during Advent - I suggest only one simple thing: click on an hyperlink! An hyperlink that is hiding behind a special picture - especially selected for that occasion, it goes without precising! It could not be more simple - nor more luminous, verily! Click on a link, each day! One link per day! Do this all throughout the period of the Advent - and just watch, as you partake and share of these goodies with your entourage, the way yours and your loved ones' eagerness, thirst and hunger for the Light will grow exponentially!
This is the goal here, obviously - let me know if it has been achieved... eventually?
For Advent is much more than a mere ''countdown to Christmas Day'' (or night, as it is: Christmas' Eve by any other name!) --- it is, in truth, a time of expectant waiting, joyful anticipation that leads us to the day on which we will celebrate and honor the fact that we have been given a Savior, the Messiah, The Christ. (And whether it really was on December the 25th is irrelevant, in the end!)
Advent is a patient, skillful and delicate preparation for that celebration: the rejoicing surrounding that all-important arrival, which is the birth of Jesus-Christ - the Nativity. ''Advent'' is a term given to us by Latin tradition and it means, of course, ''coming''. And whether you are a millennialist (not to be confused with mere millennials aka generation Y aka brats! That is another story...) or not even Christian whatsoever, you have heard of His Coming - and of his Second Coming, too!
Let's just say that, once the Third is set, we will no longer be on the same planet anymore - it will have been thoroughly transformed! But that is another story... for another blog!
Advent begins on November 29th...
Today, to get this started on the right footing and the right foot as well, we propose this:
Way back then, when I put together that first Advent calendar, it had a very short -overall- poem and each line of it was to be read at the rate of one per day, for the duration... It was all due to the many constraints, one being of space allotted to me for my piece... Here, those constraints do not exist - hence, here is the first line -of many!- for this first day of this calendar:
''Life was given to us for us to make the most of it, for us to make an impact upon others, a good one, for as long as our passage on earth may last... It is not given to us to be careless about things such as our very own health - and we were given all the means to make the most of it all. We were given the nutrients, the proper methods to cook them and everything that will make this body that we were given function well and for a long, long time. God Wants us to prosper, not to wither away and perish in record time. The Beautiful Truth -if you haven't heard about it- is simply about that: how it is simple to heal ourselves, cleanse ourselves and remain alive and healthy for a long time so that we can achieve what was meant to be, when we arrived in this life...!''
As we make sure we stick around for the continuation of events, we will next want to explore the why of our being here, surely...? Especially as it pertains to this modern chaos that we now know... Click here then:
''For as incredibly hectic as things may get to be, in your daily grind throughout the weeks and months in-between holiday breaks, you can rest assured of one thing: there is Order in Creation. There was a Purpose for everything and a Time for every little thing, under Heaven... Never lose sight of that, no matter what. By the same token, however, you must never forget that, although you are the focal point of your very own actions -the one who will account for every little thing you do, have done or will ever do, somewhere down the road- you are but one peck of sand in the Infinity of Things; so keep the ''self'' in check, will you?''
As the last month of the year begins, we have got to start to get seriouser and seriouser about the truly important things: and those are the values and merits of the spiritual side of things - the immortal aspect of your being, in other words - your soul.
Let us begin just that, then, with this right here:
So you have been meditating -maybe for weeks, for months; or just since last night- and you already sense that you are in dire need of healing... Spiritual healing.
Here is a good start for this:
After knocking on that Door - and asking for that Healing, that all-important cleansing (which should be, now, well underway - at the very least) you will probably want to know more -right here, right now- about that Place you are hoping to gain access to all over again... Heaven, yes!
Well here's an idea, with some insight into the aspects you've probably wondered about but were too afraid to ask about...
If you haven't done so yet, you might think it is time to start decorating there, just a tiny wee bit...? The traditional tree (or fac-simile thereof) imposes itself, of course; find, here, the true reason for it and how it does espouse the veritable Reason for the Season as it does...
This day being a Saturday - we will go about it the music way!
And, though there are several excellent ways to go about this, the one that will have us listening to over 200 songs from the phenomenal Twila Paris has got to be the surest, most pleasant way to hear praise, worship and the love of God sung in the most exalting form that could be!
Let us focus upon what this is all about now: where we are going with it all and where we want to be once All Is Accomplished! For the story of the world is not completed yet - and His Return Has Been Prophecied! With this gorgeous image captured by your humble servant's very own camera, while on location at a certain most special shrine, let us focus on Him - The Redeemer! Not as He Is and Will Be, upon His Return - but as He Came to us indeed, as this time of the year dictates it! Let's give special attention to the significance of His Coming, Birth and the fact that God Made A Part of Himself Human, to walk among us for a time - and to bridge that gap which separated man from Him. A gap created by sin; which was erased by the Sacrifice of His very own Human Incarnation. If the concept is still alien (perhaps even alienating?) to some, let us begin with this here:
Jesus Comes... Jesus Came to roam the Earth for 33 years... And Jesus Gave us The Way. Now, for those of you who can take it, here is one of many long sermons on the subject of just this: what Jesus was born for and what He brought us all - a chance at eternal life, freed from the flawed mortal coil we are encased in, ourselves for a finite number of years... Most will not be able to withstand such long sermons however, hence we advise clicking on this favorite image of ours, depicting a soul's ascension unto the Most High...
Perhaps, now, you will find it in yourself to begin a long-postponed dialogue, at long last...? Perhaps you will want to resume this, as one reacquaints oneself with that auld friend, unseen in such a long time? That auld friend is God and, as Christmas approaches, the true reason for the season emerges and that old sentiment becomes burgeoning all anew, in your heart of hearts, you will want to speak with Him once again - just like old times? Prayer is the means to achieve this - and then, there is also this particularly popular way, from some years back - a Conversation...
There is one thing that strikes us all, right from the beginning, at any time we hear or read of it - whether we are heathens or anointed, secular or deeply religious, atheistic or agnostic, convicted or convinced; we all quiver and bow before that most Kingly Name of... Jesus. And do not pretend it is some Latino name now: ''jay-zoos'' from somewhere down in South America - no! The Name is Unique: because it is Jesus The Christ and there is only One Son of God. And when the Believer calls out to Him, shouts His Name with true faith - demons tremble and cower in fear. This Name Has True Power - and you all know it.
Once again, for those who could not bear a lengthy exposé (such as this one, originating from 1986...) there is always this most interesting short summary - just click on this image right here:
Think of Him ever more now: we are two weeks away form His Birthday (and, hey, if we get to pick a fictitious one for ourselves on social media, so Can He - capisce?)
JESUS - why was He Born? GOD - made human! And yet He Died... on a cross... Evil continued to run rampant and often roughshod over countless. Just this past year, we all saw someone being beheaded by one of the despicable Daech duds - just as he cried out ''JESUS!''
The question is often asked, by so many doubters and nay-sayers: if God Exists, why would He Allow evil to exist, too? The more radical thinkers will say that God is Gone - a Nietzscheism that is just too easy to spout out (and to which we absolutely to retort with ''well, God Says: Nietzsche is dead!'' Ha!) So, we would be celebrating the birthday of someone who has been around, all-too briefly, but is gone now - never to be seen again? Just like everybody else in the entire history of time and humankind, eh? And still, there are those who will even refute that Christ ever existed in the first place too... To all of those, we can joyfully retort -in unison- this:
The season is in full swing now; everywhere you go, you cannot escape reminders of it! Christmas songs are playing, everywhere. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, they say! Jingle Bells are being heard - all the way! There are promises of dashing through the snow, presents aplenty and kisses under mistletoes! For many, this can be the most depressing thing you've heard of all year! To those, especially (as well as for those who are simply natural born skeptics) - I must convey the following... Yes, I must! There is light at the end of this tunnel, folks! There is... Light!
And wouldn't you know that a message put together by those who call themselves Latter-Day Saints may just be the thing to drive this home to you, now...? Now believe you me: there are no Mormons here, part of the luminous blog - but this is worth a view and a listen hence it gets the nod here - just click on the luminous cross already and see for yourself:
'Tis Saturday - why not succumb to the same Saturday Night Fever as last Saturday: music, yes, but not just any music. Worship music! And yes, of course it will be about Jesus: but let's make it about Jesus Culture - something we all want to nurture and grow within our hearts, around here...! There are many playlists and videos of Jesus Culture to be found all over the web, certainly - we have chosen a fairly recent mix done by ''Digital Heavens'' as the one to watch, at this time...!
No celebrations of Noel... Navidad... Natal... would ever be complete without the appropriate traditional airs, though: what better day than The Day of Our Lord, then, to return to the most fitting place of all for just such enchanting sounds...? There are many choices to be found, once again - we chose the Clare College Choir hailing from Cambridge! Enjoy:
Many feel, with right reason, that ''Santa Claus'' steals the spotlight from the true reason of the season, and that this has been going on for a long time. True. Though ''Kris Kringle'' is a made-up monicker attributed to him, there truly was a Saint Nicholas and this is his true story - courtesy of the Orthodox denomination!
There is an angel that stands out from all others - it is Gabriel. He is the messenger of the Annunciation - announcing to Mary, virgin and future holy mother of God, that she was chosen to bring into this world that spark of the Divine that shall come to be named Emmanuel - Jesus, which means ''God Among us''. Gabriel comes with all these instructions for both Mary and Joseph. This is unique to the tale of the Nativity and detractors cannot deny it: even other religions revere Gabriel as a special heavenly attendant. Today, as we think of this great event, veritably the greatest in the entire history of humankind, let us cast a spotlight upon the angel - Gabriel:
Christ is a huge part of our lives come Christmas time - but what of the rest of the year? It is time for the less-than-active Christians to act on their faith and put their money where their mouth allegedly is! You got baptized, you went through your first communion and the confirmation after that? Then you signed up for this, pal - follow up on your word! Because you know He Has Been there for you, through the darkest hours right on through your finest moments as well. If you think you got it all done all by yourself, think again! On your knees, forget gift-wrapping and say this prayer NOW:
Baby Jesus is adorable - there can be none who would ever dare deny that. But as we celebrate His Birth -just as when we honor anybody else's ''b-day'' generally- we are really thinking of the person presently before us; in most cases, it is the adult that the baby, born that many years earlier, has become and who has been an important part of our lives ever since... Someone we love, someone we trust. The painting reproduced below is of that Person indeed: it was a visual rendering of Christ Himself as He Appeared to one Sister Faustina, certainly one to appreciate, love and trust in Him. Click on the image now to learn why you should trust so much in that baby born 2000 years ago - and click as if you didn't know already...!
now, considering that today is the day The Force Awakens in Star Wars country, it might be a trifle difficult for you guys to come over and find even the time to click on a simple link... considering all that may come afterwards and all...!
Thus, we will go easy on you, this time, and select the less-consuming turnout of all that we have chosen for this purpose, here, on the Luminous Advent Calendar - hence, fear not and click on this, please:
Another Saturday - another chance to verse nostalgic in music once again here.
And how better to start with Natalie Grant's utmost perfect song that honors Him: ''Your Great Name'' - followed by many more great artists and songs on one of our most personal, most favorite playlists ever...! Just click on the musically-inclined heavenly attendant right here:
And another Sunday as well - so very close to The Day itself; we simply have got to return to The Lord's House! And listen to the greatest chants for the occasion: Eastern Orthodox traditional songs, this time, courtesy of Bulgarian choirs in the capital city of Sofia...
Christ Has Inspired countless souls: even those who do not believe in His True Nature have admitted so much, which only adds to the extremely long list of Miracles He Has Performed and Continues to Perform, truth be told...! He Lives in our hearts as much as He Lives Resurrected, sitting on the Heavenly Throne next to His Father, and about to Return in a short time - His Time.
On this Christmas season, as we approach That Time -The Time of His Return- you have yet another golden chance to get to know Him; do not miss it. For to know Him, is to know peace, joy and salvation at the end of your earthly days. And not to know Him... is to deny yourself all of that.
'Tis the Winter Solstice, too, now - today! The longest night of the year (if one makes abstraction of that one night some of us may feel to be the longest, depending on where you are residing: the one night on which you have to set your clock back one hour! But that is another story - and it was on another blog, too!) So it appears to be a triumph of the darkness over the light; and nothing could be further from the truth! For starting today, the Light begins to take away from the darkness, each day: we gain more daylight progressively until the blessed spring arrives, and the cold nights become but a bad memory. ''The Light Shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it'' - John 1:5 Never forget it!
As we are so near to the Birth of The One Who Promises Eternal Life - we think of His Blessings, of His Divine Nature, of His Power...
We think also of those believers who have passed on, like my friend Joy and my father João; those who are, therefore, in His Domain now, awaiting on the other side what we await on this side - the Fulfillment of Prophecy and of His Promise. The Promise made by God Himself to each and every single one of us who believe in Him; so that we may come to know that this will be accomplished. And we cannot doubt it, no. For in the face of so much evil running rampant across the face of this world, we see it and we can easily believe it: evil exists - and so does Absolute Good. The Universe, as richly complex as it is -mathematically speaking, for starters- has got to have a Creator and it has got to be part of a Plan, a much Higher Plan than what is visible to the naked eye. For it is one that we cannot decipher all that well, on this side of things - but it is in place; we have but to seek evidence of that to find some. The unexplained finds its answers in His Mysterious Ways. The despair dwindles to nothingness in His Presence. Where there seems to be no meaning, He Provides The Reason. And The Lord Is in control. make no mistake about that: even in the darkest times, He Is. Each time we remember that He Sent a Part of Himself to experience life as we know it, some 2000 years ago, and that it was Planned all along, since the Dawn of Time... Each time the Name of Jesus is invoked and like unto a Shield for us against the darkness which surrounds us... Each time we think of all this, pray and praise His Glorious, Unknowable Magnificence, which we cannot even begin to comprehend - we know. The beauty of this paradox cannot be escaped...! And you can only succumb to the call from your Heavenly Father - for it is The Way, The Life and The Eternity.
Anyone who doubts that there was a very special baby born sometime on the year we got to start counting from, lo, two thousand years ago or so... has got to be only kidding himself or herself! No ordinary human being could have triggered all this, a veritable revolution (as we've called it ourselves, on another blog here - many others have called it that before, too, of course!) peppered with so many astounding miraculous feats that have been mirrored, over the centuries, by so many of His Followers...! No one compares to Him; and for those who dare put into in question His Birth, celebrated today throughout most of the Christian world -though it could have occurred at another date, as we've precised before- we can only tell you this: may He Reveal Himself to you! That should sound like a curse for many an unbeliever - and so let it be! Believe me: you've had it coming! And you will come to see the Light: be it now or in the afterlife! All in due time, I'm sure: all in His Time! For the reasonable souls, there is only one path however...