Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas


With the fast pace Christmas day here, a house filled with wrapping paper and kids fighting over toys, and road rage on the highway as people head to grandmothers house is anyone still really thinking of Jesus?  Is this still His birthday?  Has Santa taken over, does he have victory over Jesus?

    I think to answer these questions we need to first think through what each of these situations look like.  First off I will admit that my kids are the first to go from saints to brats when given an abundance of presents on Christmas morning. It never seems to fail, receiving all those gifts at one time is a recipe for disaster.  I also think we have placed such a huge expectation on us and our loved ones as to what Christmas should look like. So that we are all running around with fake smiles while inside our stress is through the roof as we try to get to everyone's house on time and worry if they will like the gifts we have given.

    Is this what God intended for the birthday of His son Jesus?  Lets take a look, know the Holy Family did travel for the first Christmas but it wasn't to Florida and they didn't stay on a five star resort.  NO the resort was full so they stayed in a stable for animals, his bed was a manger and his new christmas outfit was some stylish bands of cloth!  WHAT?? that can't  be right. Where are the ribbons, bows and wrapping paper; big Ham, sweet potatoes and pie? Where are the mountains of toys, tree with lights, fake snow and little villages of winter wonder land? Where is Santa???    I looked in the book of Luke 2:6-7 none of it is in there so little, so simple,  just a baby lying in a manger. Yet there is such Joy such excitement,  suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom He favors!!! (Luke 2:13-14).  I don't know about you but to me that sounds better than anything I could think of for Christmas morning and then later on He did receive gifts from the three kings (Matt 2:1-12)

    Now that we have seen what the first Christmas looked like, lets take a look at Santa. Is he really trying to steal Christmas?  Again know the person of Santa Claus is no more than Saint Nicholas Bishop, his name was changed to Santa Claus for the Dutch Sinterklaas. For a while he stayed as the Bishop for Turkey whose love for Christ was expressed through giving to the needy.  He also strongly defended our Lord at the council of Nicaea against Arius and against Arius' belief that Jesus was not fully God.  The story goes that Nicholas was so enraged at what Arius was saying against Jesus that he got up, walked over and slapped Arius across the face. After that the other Bishops had him thrown into jail and removed his Bishop garments from him. Later on that night Jesus and Mary appeared to him and asked "Why are you in jail?" Nicholas answered "Because of my love for You!" Upon this reply Jesus gave him the books of the Gospel and Mary gave him his Bishop garments back.  In the morning when the guard returned his chains were loosened, he was quietly reading the gospel and dressed in the garments they had stripped from him the night before.  With amazement they took him to Pope Constantine who restored him as Bishop and the council decided to go with Nicholas' belief and not Arius.  So you can see Saint Nicholas is both joyful, giving and a fierce defender of Christ.

   You see if we want to truly celebrate the birth of our Lord it should be simple, little and with our family.  If you want to add on the spirit of Santa Claus AKA St Nicholas just defend Jesus at all cost and give the gifts you get to the poor.

     Merry Christmas Taylor

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

6 no longer!

We would like to announce the birth of our beautiful twin daughters. Faustina Florence and Adele Betty were born Monday. We were so blessed by their birth. God was truly with us through the whole day. 

God blessed us with an amazing doctor. Dr. Cudihy is a wonderful supportive doctor. His faith shines through. He encouraged us when Faustina was turned and rejoiced in the miracles God blessed us with when they happened. We just want to thank you Dr. Cudihy for all of your help, support, and prayers. 

God has blessed us with many opportunities to witness. It started 11 days ago when we went into labor the first time. When we went into labor on 12/13/14 we were so excited; however, God had different plans. My labor completely stopped after 11 hours. We were disappointed by this since we were expecting to go home with babies in car seats, but through this God gave us many opportunities to praise Him. We were able to share our testimony with multiple nurses. A few of the nurses admitted that they had a desire to go on a mission trip. We were more than happy to share that FMC has short term missions and that some are even medical missions. We pray that God will continue to stir in their hearts a desire to serve him.

 God has blessed us again with bringing people into our room to witness to. We have had many wonderful conversations with the nurses about Him. We were especially blessed in particular by one nurse who shared her testimony as well as heard ours. Her witness was so beautiful. You could see her love for Jesus radiate through her as she talked. I was especially blessed by her generosity. She bought me a pair of slipper socks to wear so my feet wouldn't get cold.

By the grace of God I was able to deliver both Faustina and Adele naturally without any medication. Without Him I would not have been able to deliver them. He strengthened me when I didn't think I could go on. 

Taylor and I would like to thank everyone who has been praying for our pregnancy and delivery. We know that God answered your prayers! ~Katie

Monday, December 1, 2014

With great power comes great responsibility

Hero - Spiderman, Superman, Thor, The Wolverine. What do all these individuals have that catches our imaginations and draws our attention to them? What makes them heroes? 

Villains - Dr. Octopus, Lex Luther, Loki, Magneto. All of these individuals are associated with negativity, evil, destruction, and death; and yet they are not so different from the heroes we like and idolize. They have super powers and extraordinary abilities. Some by natural birth and some by chance which is no different from the heroes we love. Indeed in some situations they are even raised in the same household by the same parents; such as Thor and Loki. What is the one single thing that makes one good and one bad, one a hero and one a villain? Whether they put themselves before others or others before themselves. 
Heroes are selfless. Using their strength and abilities, their intelligence, and power for others before themselves. Putting the needs of others before their own need. Villains are selfish. Using their strength, power, money, and everything at there disposal to serve their needs, their wants, and their desires. One is not stronger than the other. One is not more powerful than the other. One does not have more resources than the other. Simply that the hero chooses to sacrifice himself for others, and the villain chooses to sacrifice others for himself. And even as it is played out in the comic books and movies, It often seems unfair for the hero that he has to follow the rules, do what is right, and continually try to save the innocent. Even at the expense of the hero’s loved ones, assets, or personal wellbeing. While the villain can break all of the rules and use whatever means necessary to get to the desired end. Even if it means the lives of the innocent, because what really matters is the happiness, desires and wants of the villain. It is this simple thing that separates the two.
Now the time comes to ask ourselves “What are you? A hero or a villain? How do you use the gifts and talents that God has given you? Do you use them for the good of others or for the good of yourself?” 

So often we think as Christians that if we have talents, great abilities, or wealth that God has blessed us with that for our own use. We live a life of luxury, of fullness, If we have an abundance of food we are fat and happy, if we have wealth we are able to have anything. If we have a great home it for our own enjoyment and use. But then how is this any different from the villain who uses their gifts, resources, and talents to seek their own happiness.  Although to us they seem evil we assume they can’t be happy. They are only viewed as evil because they are self-serving. Then so are we villainous if we are self-serving. 

On the other hand if you are using your gifts and talents for God your life to the outside world may seem foolish as a life of a hero seems foolish to a villain. If a person has great wealth but chooses to live in a tiny house, drive a rusty car, and spend your vacation time to serve others; you then would be a hero in the eyes of God. If you have an abundance of food but yet you look scrawny and ill and spend all of your time feeding the poor; you would be a hero in they eyes of God. If you have been blessed with a large house and abundant lands but your house looks more like a hotel than a mansion because you welcome the homeless, impoverished, and those who are down on their luck; you would be a hero in the eyes of God. If you have an abundance of time and your friends think you foolish because you spend all of your time volunteering at nursing homes, food pantries, homeless shelters, and marching in front of abortion clinics; you too would be a hero in the eyes of God. 

It is not hard for one to see that my hero, Jesus, is the first Hero, the first X-men, and the first Avenger. "Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped." Philippians 2:6. See Jesus being fully God and fully man though in the person of a man had all of the power of God and instead of conquering the Roman Empire, taking over the world, inventing everything we would need in life, and giving the world great gifts of technology and medicine He used it to heal the sick, feed the hungry, free the oppressed, and guide us to His Father in Heaven. And then when He went about His passion, crucifixion, and death although He had the power to stop it at any point He chose not to. Instead He was beaten, scourged, crucified, and mocked. He was called a fool. What the villains of his day did not know is that through His sacrifice He would arise more powerful than ever and conquer death, opening the gates of Heaven for all who would follow Him. 

See a fool is one who wastes great power for no reason. A hero is one who sacrifices great power for the greater good of others. So I ask you again - “What are you, a hero or a villain?”