December Marks the End of the Catholic Calendar Year

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a Manger…” Rejoice in the Lord-December 2021

December marks the end of the catholic calendar year but the beginning of the Christian story. It is the most joy-filled holy day in the Christian calendar, and boy, do we celebrate!
It is truly an exciting time of year for young children. There are Christmas decorations in stores, and many cities host a tree lighting ceremony and a parade – with Santa Claus! Human beings love myth and magic, especially young children who are too young to understand theology, but can easily identify with baby Jesus’ story, and cheerfully embrace a saint who brings toys.

Some parents feel that Santa Claus may detract from the religious theme of Christmas, but Santa commemorates a real saint, Saint Nicholas, whose generosity was boundless. Selfless giving is Christian, and, in those brief and precious years when a child is open to wonder and magic, Santa Claus is often their first understanding of gifts freely given. (Even the three Wise Men brought gifts.)
Communities often hold toy drives for children who otherwise might not receive anything. When a child “outgrows” Santa Claus they can become Santa Claus, and join the family in buying some toys for the toy drive. (They are, after all, the family’s resident expert on toys.)

There are those who think Christmas has become too commercial, but, for individual families, it is only as commercial as you allow in your own home. Santa needn’t bring a lot of toys to thrill a child. It’s not the quantity, it’s the magic that counts.
To see Christmas through the eyes of a child – the baby Jesus in the manger, the tree bright with ornaments and lights, the almost unbearable excitement of anticipation on Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa Claus.

This unbounded joy, wonder, and excitement that comes only to the young becomes the gift parents give to themselves.

Summer is A Time of Reflecting on Nature

As the calendar turns towards Fall and we reflect on summertime, summertime reflects on nature and God’s creation. In most of the Northern hemisphere, summer is a time of plenty. The promise of spring has been fulfilled. It is truly a time of God’s creation “showing off” with the sheer abundance of new life and growth. This joyous explosion of re-birth is an optimistic affirmation of resurrection and renewal. 

It is fitting that Easter Sunday, the death and resurrection of Christ, always arrives with springtime. The dead of winter gives way to spring and the rich fulfillment of summer. It is a perfect metaphor for Christians and a timely reminder of the love and sacrifice of our Savior. We are redeemed. 

God gave us this earth.

He invited us to share in its bounty and cherish its rich resources. That’s the tricky part: we must share this magnificent gift among all our brothers and sisters, now and in the future. There are many people for whom that promise has not been fulfilled. They need us to share in this plenty because there is plenty enough for all.

We also find ourselves at a crossroads. Our planet needs our help too, our most unified and sustained commitment to heal it. It is tempting to say, “God will save us.”

He already did. 

We are not children in the nursery who have broken their toys and cry for daddy to fix it. We are a people who have been careless in our treatment of the land and profligate in our use of its resources. But we are also a people with many abilities and talents, (By the grace of God). We can honor the magnificent gift of this earth that our Father has created for us, and begin to heal it for the inheritance of our children and our children’s children.

Then, when we sit on our patios and porches, enjoying the sunny warmth of a lazy day in August, we won’t have to tell our grandchildren of the way it used to be when we were small. They will be able to enjoy this earth, play in its waters, run through its meadows, and hike its towering forests.

Let us make of our effort a prayer of thanksgiving, a paean to our creator.

Let us sing a song of summer, as Psalm 118:

“This is a day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

 

Celebrating Diversity as an Act of Solidarity

“Celebrate what makes us great, our Diversity!”

Lighthearted – July 2021

Let’s face it. Most of us were born into our faith tradition. We are Christians largely because our parents were Christians. The same can be said for Islam, Judaism, and all the world religions.

We were also all born with the genetic and racial inheritance of our parents. We often refer to this as an “accident of birth”, but what if these “differences” are not an accident? Perhaps God has given us this amazing panoply of humanity for us to understand, learn from, and enjoy?

We are all united in all the ways that matter, and we are all children of the same loving father. We are all capable of love, kindness, generosity, and joy. Equally, we are all capable of duplicity, anger, hatred, greed, and malevolence. But most importantly, we are all children of a loving God, and are called by him to our best selves and our highest purpose. Imagine what this world would be if we could see each other the way our loving Father sees us. Our human distinctions of race, color, creed, status, ability, and appearance are all superficial and meaningless in terms of our shared humanity. What if, every time we looked at a stranger, we saw our mother or father or sister or brother? Would we reach out to them? Would we love?

We are all souls dwelling in different “houses”. Make no mistake, these houses are temporary dwellings. It is imperative that we discard the painful divisions, prejudices, and false pride that we have all inherited.

We are here to work out our salvation – to return “home.” Perhaps we are meant to work it out together, to extend a helping hand, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless. In short, to truly believe that we are all in this together, and to embrace our universal family of God.

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

“Mary lives in union of faith with her Son all the way to the Cross… Heroically, she abandons herself to God.”

— Evangelization Calendar – April, 2021

We are suffering through an event unprecedented in living memory. Some of us have lost loved ones, friends, and co-workers. Some of us are facing devastating financial hardship. We have no past experience to help us through this. We have had to rely on the shared effort of all humanity to protect ourselves and everyone else. But, above all, we must rely on God.

It is human nature to ask, “Why is God letting this happen” Even Jesus Christ, on the cross, cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” But we are not forsaken. By his sacrifice on the cross, Jesus secured, for each of us, eternal life. We are promised the perfection of heaven. We are not promised a perfect life on earth.

Our loving Father is always with us. When good fortune comes our way, we often thank God. But when devastating misfortunes are upon us, we suddenly are tempted to blame God. God is not our “lucky charm.” He is our source of constant love and support throughout our lives in our journey back to our Father, our journey to sainthood.

We have perfect examples of trusting in our Lord and living with sacrifice and tribulations: Jesus, the Son of God, and Mary, his mother. Mary knows our fears, our sufferings, and our losses. She shares our pain. She is a mother who fled, as a refugee, to Egypt in order to save her son from Herod’s soldiers. She knows the panic of losing a child and the wild relief of finding him when, at the age of
twelve, Jesus stayed behind at the temple in Jerusalem, sitting among the teachers, instead of joining his parents on the journey back to Nazareth. And, finally, she saw him condemned to death, and suffered with him on the cross.

Throughout all of her pain and loss, her trust in God never wavered. When the angel had announced to her that she would conceive a son, she simply said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word.” From that day forward, Mary abandoned herself to God, the source of all her strength. We pray to our Father in this most profound time of pain and need, and know that we have not been abandoned. We ask Mary to intercede for us as our mother, who understands our very human suffering and loss. Mary was always there with her son, trusting in God, and she is here with us now. We, too, must abandon ourselves to God.

A New Update from Blue Mound Graphics

Dear Friends of Blue Mound Graphics,

We hope you and yours are staying safe and healthy. The state of Wisconsin has extended the stay at home order for non-essential businesses through May 26, 2020. Blue Mound Graphics is continuing to comply with this order as well as the CDC’s Coronavirus Guidelines.

During this unusual time and while our office remains closed, we will continue to use email as our primary means of communication through May. You can email anyone on our team directly, or if you are unsure of the best email to use, you can email customerservice@bluemoundcalendars.com, and the proper person on our team will respond as they are able.

If you have had a chance to view our beautiful selection of 2021 calendars, we hope they appeal to the needs of your parish or church. If you have not had the opportunity, you can see our full calendar line at https://www.bluemoundcalendars.com//2021-calendars/.

If you have questions about ordering, or are ready to place your 2021 calendar order, you can email, fax  (414-475-7284) or mail your calendar orders to us. Your copy does not have to be ready at this time to reserve the style and quantity. We will begin working on copy proofs this summer. You will most likely receive an acknowledgment in the mail before receiving any proofs, if you place your calendar order before May 26, 2020.

Blue Mound Graphics is committed to being your calendar provider for 2021. When we are back in the office on Tuesday, May 26th, we will go full speed ahead in proofing and printing your calendars. In the meantime, please send in your calendar order, and most importantly, take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Sincerely,

Julie Power, Susan Tehan, and the rest of the team at Blue Mound Graphics

What Happened on Good Friday?

Christmas and Easter are the two most celebrated Christian holy days. We love the joyous celebration, the decorating, getting together with loved ones – human beings do enjoy a party. Unfortunately, there is no Easter without Good Friday, that dark and terrible day when, to the followers of Christ, it looked like the end of everything. We know it marked the beginning of everything.

It was the time of Passover in Jerusalem. Many Jews journeyed to the city to celebrate. The crowds would have been huge, a perfect time for the Roman government to make an example of the scruffy rabble-rouser who called himself “King of the Jews.” Jesus’ growing popularity was seen as a threat to the stability of the Roman state. No state will tolerate any potential threat to its existence, and often quells any sign of insurrection with the execution of the leader. The Romans viewed crucifixion as a humiliation; a perfect means of killing this “pretender” and his popularity.

Imagine Golgotha on that day. Three crosses on a hill, the surrounding countryside filled with spectators. Some would be there to jeer, some would be there out of curiosity, and some filled with sadness and near despair. Very few would have understood, or even believed, that Jesus was the son of God. This penniless prophet? This son of a lowly carpenter from an obscure little village, calling himself king? Please!

Who would we have been on that terrible day? Would we have watched, callously indifferent to the suffering and dying, telling ourselves, “Surely he deserves his fate. The man was a menace.” Or perhaps we would have stayed home, assured that it had nothing to do with us. We were observant Jews, living under Roman rule. Better to stay away and keep our heads down. It’s easy to assure ourselves that we would have believed that Jesus was the son of God – but we know how the story ends.

Who would we have been among that large crowd?

Well, who are we now?

Throughout the past 2,000 years people have continued to suffer and die, sometimes for being Christians, or sometimes at the hands of Christians. All too often certain groups are met with mistrust and fear. They are not “like us.” Do we tell ourselves, “It’s nothing to do with me.” or “They must have done something to bring this on themselves.”?

All our lives we will be met with many “Golgotha” moments. How will we respond? Will we honor that sacrificial gift of love and resurrection? Will we celebrate our commitment to follow that carpenter’s son, even to the cross?

An Update from Blue Mound Graphics

Dear Friends of Blue Mound Graphics,

We hope you and your family are doing well and are staying healthy and safe. The state of Wisconsin has issued a stay at home order for all non-essential businesses through April 24, 2020. Blue Mound Graphics is complying with this order as well as the CDC’s Coronavirus Guidelines.

We are working hard to continue to serve you during this unprecedented time. While our office is closed, we do have access to emails, which will be our primary means of communication until April 24th. You can email anyone on our team directly, or if you are unsure of what email is best, you can email customerservice@bluemoundcalendars.com, and your email will be forwarded to the proper team member.

We want you to know that Blue Mound Graphics is committed to being your calendar vendor for your 2021 calendars. We will go full speed ahead in proofing and printing your calendars when we are back to work in our office at the end of April. For any orders placed before May, you can expect a formal acknowledgment in early May when our team is back in the office. In the meantime, send in your orders, and most importantly, please stay safe and well!

Sincerely,

Susan Tehan, Julie Power, and the rest of the team at Blue Mound Graphics

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