NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local parish, who professes faith and loyalty to the Church. This ministry - my "little work" - is strictly a personal expression of that faith and loyalty, and not an officially recognized ministry in the Diocese of Honolulu. ~ Peter

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

How God reminded me about the true meaning of Christmas...

Christmas came a little early for me this year.  I'm actually writing this latest blog from Chula Vista, California, where I am visiting with my sister and other family members for the Holiday Season. 

Today, Wednesday (12/23), I went for a quick workout in the gym at my sister's townhouse complex.  While I was doing some weights, I glanced out the window and noticed a strange, but familiar figure, on a palm tree outside.  For me, I could see a clear representation of the Blessed Virgin kneeling in prayer; covered with a veil; a dove hovering over her head.  It was the scene recalling the moments after the Annunciation when Mary conceived Jesus within her holy womb.

Photos I took of the image on Our Lady on a palm tree in Chula Vista, California.
Click on the image to view a larger size.

I stood near the gym equipment excited by what I was seeing and I couldn't help but think to myself, "How fitting for this time of the year."  I recognized that, despite my unworthiness, I was being blessed and reminded in a special way about what the meaning and celebration of Christmas was truly all about - the sublime Mystery of the Incarnation and Birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ... and I actually needed this reminder because December has been exceptionally stressful for me due to work, travel plans, and the distractions caused by the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping; I sensed immediately that God was telling me to press the [Pause] button in my life so I could refocus on what was truly important - JESUS.  So I did stop what I was doing for several long moments to offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God right there in the gym.

I then grabbed my cellphone and snapped several photos of the image on the tree; a couple of which are shown above.  I resumed exercising, but continued to offer short prayers in between workouts, while glancing out the window at the Virgin Mary figure.  I left the gym in a calm, reflective mood.

A popular traditional representation of the Annunciation,
depicting the Holy Spirit descending to the Blessed Virgin.

Later, I pondered what transpired and it also dawned on me that our salvation really started on the day Mary pronounced the words, "I am the handmaid of the Lord.  Be it done unto me according to thy word..." to the Archangel Gabriel, and then the Holy Spirit overshadowed her with his Divine Power, making her pregnant with the Son of God; that Mary's cooperative role was integral to God's master plan for the redemption of mankind.  It was deep... very deep... and I felt a renewed and greater sense of appreciation towards our dear Blessed Mother.

So what a very productive, healthy day it has been... not just for my body, but also for my spirit, which stood in need of exercise, too, of which God reminded me about.  Have you had your spiritual workout today?  We should strive to remember that despite the frenzy of activity that often surrounds us during the Holiday Season, we can always find peace through God; that Jesus is indeed the reason for the season.

Merry Blessed Christmas!

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