My 16 year old daughter was recently asked to write a talk for a Ladies' Retreat at our parish.
Her topic was to be "The True Meaning of Christmas and Keeping a Holy Focus During this Season" from a teen's perspective.
I was greatly inspired by several things my daughter shared.
I don't know about you, but whenever I have the opportunity to be exposed to faithful, zealous, devout youth, I instantly have renewed HOPE for the future. (I had this feeling when reading Kathryn's recent post on this blog about FOCUS)
Truly, it will be the grass-roots uprising of YOUTH who want to restore the Church, Family, and Nation that will change the world...loving Christ and sharing Him with others...one day at a time.
One of the things my daughter mentioned in her talk that moved me so was this: She said that she feels we, as people celebrating the Advent/Christmas Season tend to pay too much attention to "public influence" and not enough attention to "The Ultimate Influence".
I love that. "Ultimate Influence".
I wonder how different the average day in America would look if we would all strive to take these words of a young teen to heart...how would the streets look...and the stores...and the homes of families across the country?
My daughter also said that we need to enjoy the "present moments" of our lives more...and that "rolling out cookie dough and cutting out snowflakes, are far more important than they seem to us at the time".
Wow! Such insight from someone so young; and also, for me, as her mother, such a blessing to know that she "gets it" and that these moments in our own family life have reached her heart and have drawn her closer to God.
Finally, my daughter said something that has become my own meditation for this Advent Season. I thanked her for teaching me and leading me to Christ. She said that rather than trying to "make the best of Christmas", she feels that she needs to try to "make the best of HERSELF DURING Christmas".
That, after all, IS the true essence of Advent, is it not?
Preparing our hearts, best we can, to meet Our Savior in His Coming; both at Christmas time and in the end of ALL time.
So often, the media and even the casual conversations of everyday people, seem to be flooded with stories of fallen away youth; irreverent youth, lukewarm youth, disrespectful youth.
I thank God for the glimpses He gives me of youth that are close to His Divine Son...youth that DO care about their fellowman, youth that understand the real point of holy days like Christmas, and youth that are willing and courageous enough to share their insights and wisdom with others...
This talk reminded me of another Youth...a Divine Youth, who was found teaching the teachers in the temple, one day. So too, was my daughter, "teaching the teachers" as she ministered to her own pastor and the ladies of our parish.
I am now trying to make the best of myself during this beautiful Advent Season.
I hope you will do the same.