Here we are, friends, in the final stretch before Christmas. In a few short days we will open our homes to our family and friends or pack up our own family and journey afar to see relatives.
The last-minute prep falls squarely on our shoulders. We decide who will receive a Christmas card and who won’t, how carefully the presents will be wrapped, and how warm our homes will be for the holiday. Our attitude and care for others will set the tone for how our family will celebrate Christmas. While it seems unfair—the person with the biggest burden can’t possibly be expected to be the best-behaved—it appears that that’s what God had in mind when creating us as the hearts of the home (we can take that up with Him later!). For now, though, a little pep talk from our friends the saints before we delve into our beautiful, albeit laborious, last-minute Christmas prep.
If there is simply too much left to do before Christmas, call on St. Peter Canisius.
Today is the feast of St. Peter Canisius, a sixteenth-century writer and scholar who was tasked with implementing in Germany the decrees of the Council of Trent. He was a tireless worker and is said to have replied to the question if he felt overworked:
If you have too much to do, with God’s help you will find time to do it all.
St. Peter Canisius is the patron saint of Germany, so extra points to you if you are German!
When the work is repulsive or painful, talk to Mother Theresa.
Mother Theresa is known for one of her favorite sayings:
You did it to Me.
She constantly reminded the nuns in her order that they were not simply caring for other human beings, but the Lord Himself. The Missionaries of Charity are renown for their tender care of the poorest of the poor, and Mother Theresa frequently invited all of us to do the same. When the work is reviling, like cleaning up someone else’s child’s vomit from between the cracks of an inflatable mattress as a dear friend once did for my child (thank you, Kelsey!) or simply making conversation with a relative who has hurt us, we can ask for Mother Theresa’s prayers to do our jobs with all the love we can muster, certain in our belief that we also do these things for Jesus.
If it seems like just another thing on your to-do list, do it anyway and ask for St. Therese’s intercession.
St. Therese of Lisieux spent her life doing lots of little things with great love. When it would be easier for us to skip the little things because there’s simply so much else to do, we should remember this quote from St. Therese:
Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes, those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.
We can do this, ladies! Let’s band together with each other and our friends in heaven to help welcome the Infant Jesus and His children into our hearts and homes with love, warmth, and an abundance of generosity. It’s a difficult call, but an important one and ours. A very merry Christmas to you and yours!
Copyright 2015 Meg Matenaer
Photo by GaborfromHungary (2015) via Morguefile