“Sometimes beautiful things come into our lives out of nowhere. We can’t always understand them, but we have to trust in them. I know you want to question everything, but sometimes it pays to just have a little faith.” ~ Lauren Kate
Our senses are bombarded with stories of conversions and restoration of faith during Advent and Christmastime.
The tales have been woven into the fabric of our culture beginning on Thanksgiving with “The Miracle on 34th Street” and continue to infuse us for the next days and weeks until The Wonderful finally arrives on Christmas Day. Most all of us have seen these movies dozens of times. Yet, the hard-hearted becoming soft and compassionate, the miser becoming generous, and the troubled being saved, always seem to find a way of evoking sentimental feelings. The reason is, of course, that this is the heart of our Christmas experience. We are all hoping that we will be better people and that the world will become a kinder place.
The 2nd Sunday of Advent symbolizes Faith. One of the stories that always moves me is that of Saint Therese of France who had an incredible awakening in 1886 at age 14. A simple thing had happened. She had reached an age when the Christmas tradition of leaving her shoes by the fireplace in anticipation of presents was at an end. She completed the ritual with her parents after which she heard her father exclaim that he was thankful they would never have to do it again. She began weeping, but the sadness was replaced by an incredible ‘white-light’ experience in which she was given a message of conversion by God. The rest of her life became a testimony of Christmas which brought major changes to the Catholic Church.
Christmas conversion and resilience of faith resonates deeply because, as Saint Therese shows us, the grace of God is always at work. It is the lesson at the heart of The Wonderful. In the ordinary, warm earthiness of a stable God is born and new life comes to the earth.