25 Black Friday Facts

I’m skipping Black Friday shopping. I never go to these sales. But for those of you who do, here are a few facts.

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We Try So Hard to be Good, to Lead a Life Worth Living

Gratefulness is a blessing in itself.

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It Must Be Almost Thanksgiving Because I’m Steam Cleaning the Shower

So I was steam-cleaning the shower; giving the house it’s Thanksgiving go-over.

I have an industrial-strength steamer that, when it’s fully rigged up, looks a lot like one of the bugs in Starship Troopers. It produces hot, hot steam in violent jets that dissolve dirt and slay bacteria with a single hiss.

I was running it with the squeegee attachment, going up and down the shower walls, steam coming out in an angry zzzzzzzz, my laboriously straightened hair collapsing into tight little curls, when my youngest son popped his head around the bathroom door.

“Whachadoin’?” he asked.

(Duhhhhhh …)

“Cleaning the shower.”

“I want you to come do that to my shower,” meaning, the shower in the house he shares with his brother, a shower so dirty that there’s no way to be sure what color the enamel might be; a shower so dirty that self-respecting bacteria moved out months ago; a shower so dirty that I wouldn’t use it to bathe a dog.

“Nope. But you can borrow the steamer.”

“But I want you to come do it.”

“Nope.”

“All right then,” he said, wandering off.

I guess I’m responsible. After all, I raised him.

When he marries, I plan to begin my relationship with my new daughter-in-law by apologizing.

 

 

Jesus Christ is King, the Lord of My Life: Slogan or Fact?

Jesus Christ is King.

That is the summation of our faith. The cross, which absorbs many people, including me, is a stepping stone to the fact that Jesus rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of His Father.

Jesus is Lord of our lives. This usage comes from the days when one’s Lord was also his or her master; the ruling agent in a person’s life to whom fealty was sworn. By saying that Jesus is Lord, people put Him above earthly rulers, saying, in effect, that they were, as St Thomas More put it, “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”

That understanding of what it really means when we say that Jesus is Lord of our lives has become watered down into a slogan. Given the serious times ahead for Christians, I think it is appropriate to go back to that original meaning and begin using it as a literal expression of fealty once again.

Christianity is always, everywhere, a counter-cultural force. No true Christian can live as God’s good servant, but the king’s first. We must always in everything put Jesus first. If we do that, it will pit us against the world, true. But it will also enable us to become the instruments of His change by which He converts the world.

Before we preach or teach it, we’ve got to start living it. Every day. In every way. Not for others or for the effect we will have on our society. Not even for ourselves. We must do it for Him.

That’s what it means that Christ is King, at least for us in this life. Of course, it has another, eternal meaning as well. Christ is not King of this world. He does not reign here except as He reigns in each of us and our lives.

Jesus Christ is King of all life, everywhere, and all eternity. His Kingdom is the Kingdom of Heaven. We are His subjects in that Kingdom and his representatives of that Kingdom as we live in the here and now. We are also His subjects in His Kingdom throughout eternity. We, like Him, are eternal beings and our Kingdom is not of this earth.

This year, the feast of Christ the King fits neatly between Thanksgiving and Advent. It is the culmination of the liturgical year that is like a wheel, spinning through the Gospels every 365 days, teaching us the story of our salvation over and again.

Today, Jesus is Christ the King, the culmination of what we will look forward to in Advent.

The important thing for us is that we allow him to be King of our lives. Is Jesus your Lord in the sense which the phrase originally intended? Is He the sole arbiter of your actions, the object of your desires? Is he Lord of your life in deed and fact?

That is the challenge of the feast of Christ the King. This challenge is more urgent this year than others. Our faith is under attack from many directions. “Jesus is the Lord of my life” is no longer just a slogan. It is a question demanding an answer.

Is Jesus the Lord of your life in thought and deed? Do you follow Him before all others?

What answer do you give?

Join the Discussions of the Year of Faith

Click here throughout the Year of Faith, as the Catholic Channel at Patheos.com invites Catholics of every age and stripe to share what they are gleaning and carrying away from this gift of timely focus.

A Funky Thanksgiving is on the Way to My House!

A funky Thanksgiving is on the way to my house!

My husband and my sons are cooking, due to Gimpy the Foot. I offered, but they were adamant that there was noooooo way that they want me re-injuring the Gimpster by a long-standing session in the kitchen.

Not, mind you, that they’re being all that altruistic. As my youngest told me, “You’ve been such a baby about this. I want you back the way you should be.” (I’m assuming he means in full-speed Mom working order.) “I am sooo ready for you to get over this.”

There you have it: The young son, taking care of the young son by taking care of his mom. (He’s right, btw. I have been a baby about Gimpy.)

My husband could cook, once upon a time. I remember it dimly. Back in our dating days, he cooked for me all the time. It wasn’t fancy fare, but it did taste good. Foolish woman that I am, I thought this meant I was getting a great husband with a co-chef thrown in.

I didn’t reckon with post-vow amnesia. As soon as he slid the ring on my finger, he forgot how to so much as boil a pan of water. When I can’t cook for some reason, he grills (he’s fantastic with a charcoaler) and brings in the meat. Nothing else. Just meat. Other than take-out, that’s the sum of his gastronomic contribution to this family for the past 30 years.

Before anyone gets riled up with the idea that my husband wooed and wed me under false pretenses, I should admit that I pretended to like football back when we were dating.

Madame Pot, meet Mr Kettle.

I suggested having the meal catered or even – horrors – eating in a restaurant. But they will have none of such sacrilege. They know what Thanksgiving looks like, and it comes out of Mom’s kitchen, not some box. Besides, if they ate out, there wouldn’t be any leftovers, and every civilized person knows that you need tons of leftovers for watching football around the clock over the long Thanksgiving weekend.

I was a fool – delirious on pain meds or some such – to even have such a crazy idea.

Now, my charcoaling spouse and my Ramen-noodle-is-a-feast sons are going to prepare Thanksgiving dinner.

I can hardly wait to see this.

I’m going to try to pin them down on what they think is an essential Thanksgiving Dinner – as opposed to the groaning sideboard affairs I spin up – and then make a list and send them off to the store for their last-minute Thanksgiving Eve shopping spree.

That alone should be a challenge for them. I had to get my girlfriends to shop for me after I busted up Gimpy because my men cannot follow a list. Now, they’re going to be on their own, trying to follow a list and come home with all the makings for an abbreviated Thanksgiving Dinner.

I start giggling when I think about it.

I know we’ll have turkey. And ham.  I trust they can get that done. The rest of it is going to be anybody’s guess. They nixed my suggestion that they go to mixes and not try to build things from the ground up. Their only concession is that they ordered the pies from a local bakery.

I figure if worse comes to worst we can put the veggies down the garbage disposal and go to a restaurant, then come home to four days of pigging out on leftover turkey and ham with a salad or something on the side and plenty of pie for desert.

In the meantime, I’m going to sit in my recliner and watch. And grin. And think about how very, very, very blessed I am.

You know that list I wrote of the 10 things I’m thankful for? Well … this is one of ‘em.

 

 

 

Thanksgiving is Thursday. What am I thankful for?

Rest and be thankful. William Wordsworth

Thanksgiving is Thursday. What am I thankful for? The list is almost endless. Here, in the order they occur to me, are 10 of the things I’m thankful for this morning.

1. I’m thankful that my foot is healing. I have a boot and can use a walker now.

2. I’m thankful for my best friend, true companion, lover and love of my life: my husband.

3. I’m thankful that my sons are loving, kind, honest people. I’m proud of them.

4. I’m thankful I still have my mother and that she is not suffering and is relatively happy.

5. I’m thankful that, despite my overweight-out-of-shape condition, I do not have diabetes or heart disease.

6. I’m thankful for the Catholic Church.

7. I’m thankful for the gift of eternal life.

8. I’m thankful for second chances.

9. I’m thankful for a car that runs, computers, internet, electricity, hot and cold running water, central air and heat and the delete button on my keyboard.

10. I am thankful for my girlfriends, without whom life would be shades of dull.

 


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