Too Close for Comfort

Lately I feel as though I’m attracting some really bizarre situations. Everything from the homeless man that disrupted Mass after chugging the entire chalice of wine, to the literal miracle that took place last Sunday, and now to tonight’s caper…for some reason, weird stuff seems to follow me wherever I go.

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OK – Back to the Post
One of my favorite things to do in NYC around Christmas time is to take a walk around dusk. Right when it’s beginning to get dark.

It’s the most beautiful time of the year, in my opinion, because you can see all the Christmas trees twinkling in the windows. And there’s just something about feeling the crisp air on your cheeks and looking at all the buildings and seeing the warm glow of a Christmas tree that really makes it feel special.

Well, last week, walking along, I began to realize that literally every apartment window – I’m not joking, I’m talking 93% of the windows had Christmas trees in them. It was so beautiful! I had Kenny G in my ears playing “O Holy Night” on the saxophone and seeing the Christmas beauty coming from the windows, I was struck by how what’s going on inside of people’s homes is nowhere to be found outside of them. At least in NYC.

I’ve been really struck recently by how un-Christmassy it’s felt. Sure, “Christmas” is still the holiday that is on the 25th that we’re all gearing up for, but it’s “Christmas” in name only. Otherwise it’s just a season of comsumer-driven hustle and bustle.

Case and point, the annual iconic Union Square Christmas market – which has always had red-and-white striped tents – has changed this year, and is now green and yellow.

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I mean, not that that really matters, but it just goes to show the secularization of the season. Which, is nothing new, obviously. I wasn’t born yesterday.

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But given the un-Christmas vibe in the city, you’d think it’d be full of Grinches and Scrooges.

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So I was shocked – literally shocked – by the overwhelming display of Christmas, shining from the windows of every New York apartment.

And I had been mulling over that juxtaposition all weekend, knowing that I was going to incorporate that theme into tonight’s post: about how we need to take our private beliefs and take Christmas to the streets.

BUT THEN…

Sunday happened.

So I’m sitting in Mass. It’s the evening. It had been snowing for the last 10 hours. And the church had about, oh… 50-60 people in it. Pathetic showing if you ask me, but that’s a topic for a different day.

Anyways, it comes to the end of Mass. And as is customary, there’s the blessing followed by the “send-off” song. The priest blesses us, says have a great night, the song starts, he processes out, then the people dash out the door. Capiesh?

Well. Tonight, right in the middle of the blessing – in dead silence – this man – who had been sitting just across the aisle from me the entire service – stands up on his chair, and in a big booming voice, starts shouting at the congregation, and at the priest. He’s like yelling about how Christianity is a fake religion and that the priest was “hiding behind the robes” and just all of this really outrageous stuff.

It was honestly one of the most bizarre and, quite honestly terrifying, moments I’ve had, definitely at church, if not in my life. He had this black duffle bag with him, and I was afraid he was going to pull out a weapon or something. But he didn’t.

He was just aggressively ranting.

And the priest couldn’t get him to stop. He told the singer to start the song – the man continued to shout over the vocalist. The priest processed out – and the man then followed the priest – trailing him and continuing to shout at him.

The priest – as the Brooklyn native he was – led the man outside, and on the church steps – in his purple advent vestment – told the man to scram. I’ll let you imagine his exact wording, but let’s just say, it worked.

But gosh. What a freakin experience.

Walking home from church that night, a bit shaken up, I found myself, again, gazing at all the Christmas trees in the windows.

And I thought to myself, now there was a guy who was not keeping “his Christmas tree” hidden.

He was clearly not afraid to make his beliefs known. And not that we should adopt his tactics, but what a juxtaposition.

His one voice was literally able to drown out an entire congregation.

What does that say about us? What does that say about the health of our faith?

That man was literally not afraid to derail an entire church congregation and aggressively make his beliefs known. And yet, we’re terrified to say a measly “Merry Christmas” to the checkout lady at the grocery store?

If nothing else, he was bold.

The reason that man said what he did, is because he could.

My question is: what are we going to do about it?

Because if you’ve got a Christmas tree up in your home, what’s stopping you from living that way outside your four walls?

It’s time to open the door and let Christmas out.

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Because if we don’t, I’m afraid it simply won’t survive. At least not in a way that is beyond a marketing gimmick and commercialized spending spree.

The “other side” is clearly not backing down. Neither can we.

It’s our move.

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167 thoughts on “Too Close for Comfort

    1. Hi Cynthia! Thanks for sharing that. Yeah lots of hustle bustle going down right now! Hugs and love xox

  1. You express it so beautifully. I have worried about the lack of Christ in Christmas recently too…and the need to be bolder!
    Again, you just say it so well.

  2. What an amazing experience to share <3 Thanks for sharing it was so beautifully stated.. 🙂 Yeah, I just love how Christmas give color to those hopeless one and it's a miraculous celebration all over the globe cuz it brought individuals a very unforgettable and joyful moment of their lives/ our lives.. <3 right?

    1. Thanks for this thoughtful response. Yes! I love Christmas for those reasons too. Such a hopeful time of year:) Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you so much! Yes! I have! I was actually in a production of it’s a wonderful life. I played the role of Zuzu. What a terrific show. I agree – a classic! In fact I’m so sad that they’ve stopped playing it after the Macy’s thanksgiving day parade on tv! Hugs and love xox

  3. Hey Girl,

    Boy, that man was so blessed not to be here. Every man in Church would of had him down and out, before he got the second sentence going! LOL!

    You are so right, we let so many tell us we cannot have “Christmas songs” in the stores, it is now “Holiday songs.” Cannot have the Nativity Scene out bc it offends so many. The list goes on and on. I often wonder how often Jesus wonders about all of this. “One Nation under God,” until God “offends somebody.”

    We ourselves can do so much, like you said, “By wishing someone a Merry Christmas.” Giving the poor a turkey dinner and showing them Christ. I have to put this in, our Parish which is small raised over 14,000.00 in cash and over 14,000.00 in food to feed the hungry. I think that speaks well for a community of a little over 3000 people. So there are still a few of us, which still put “Jesus in the Season.” Love you and God Bless, SR

  4. “Anyways, it comes to the end of Mass. And as is customary, there’s the blessing followed by the “send-off” song. The priest blesses us, says have a great night, the song starts, he processes out, then the people dash out the door. Capiesh?”

    Be happy. My wife is RC, when I go to her masses I am amazed at the people come communion time. They proceed up, receive, turn around and walk right out. 20-25% of the congregation leaves! Father would be happy if they stayed until the hymn.

    As to the guy, remember the woman who followed the Apostles calling out until they had enough and silenced her. It’s been going on a long time, and even the best reach their limit.

    1. That’s a great point, friend. A powerful thjng to remember. Glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  5. Wow! What a post! Apparently weird things are just bound to happen when you are at service! Another thing that bothers me just a little bit (that just stated this year) is that all of the Christians stations in my area are not playing Christmas music… Now do not get me wrong I love Christian music, but I only get one time a year to randomly start belting out christmas lyrics (Am I right?).
    Love
    Izzy

    1. Thank you so much! Hah yeah i guess you’re right about that!! Oh man, play the Christmas tunes!! Thanks Izzy 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  6. What an odd experience!

    In terms of letting Christmas out, I have two thoughts. One is being like Mary in terms of obedience to what God wants, even if that’s not what we want. Another is to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, show mercy to the sinner, etc., just as Jesus did. And none of that seems to be at the center of the way Christmas is celebrated even by a lot of us as Christians. But those are just my thoughts, and if you have additional thoughts I’m open to hearing (this sort of stuff is on my mind every Christmas season).

    1. Hi Brendan! Thank you for this thoughtful response. Yes! Let’s be like mary and say yes!! Hugs and love xox

  7. The lack of holiness in this HOLY-day and HOLY season has disturbed me as well. And today I was further disturbed to read a woman’s rantings about getting a page of religious Christian scripture along with something she ordered. She claimed to believe in God. She didn’t indicate being Jewish or Muslim, though she might be, possibly, though other things mentioned led me to think otherwise. But she was actually offended by actual biblical scripture! And she posted again saying something about Luke 2:14 sounding like God is mad at us because our world isn’t peaceful, and I HAD to call her out on that one. I think she deleted it since then. But I sat there actually shocked, like, how do you NOT know the context of Luke 2:14! How do you say you believe in God, but find scripture offensive? So, Christians are offended by their own Christianity now? When it’s not all roses and bunnies, you just want to ignore it? What is THAT? I think I may write about the experience in my blog actually, because it just blew my mind.

    1. Oh gosh that makes me sad too. Yeah i think you should write about it! So many times God will use those situations that really get under our skin to reveal something to us. Thanks for stopping by!! Hugs and love xox

  8. Miracle Yello 🙌. So, how are you? Crazy what that fella did. Glad he didn’t go berserk. Question – when are you going to be visiting Los Angels to speak?

  9. Is Christianity about robes and chancels and lights and masses ? In many ways the man was right. In Romans ch 8 it says we will be glorified with God if we suffer with him. It doesn’t say twinkle with him . our God doesn’t float on beds of ease as depicted by Michelangelo. He suffers with girls dying of anorexia And with lost and profoundly lonely men on the verge of suicide who desperately need something real to cling to. They don’t need a lecture or a liturgy any more than you did. They need someone to suffer with them. For them in Jesus name. Someone who cares. Someone who does not wear a cross but rather allows a cross to wear them

    1. What a powerful reply. Thank you for sharing that. God definitely rescued me when i was in the throws of my anorexia, that is for sure. And i agree. God can be found in many many places : nature, the hearts of loved ones, in music, in the tired hands of the homeless – and at Mass and worship services. This is really something powerful to reflect on. Thank you. Hugs and love xox

  10. Hugs U!! Thank God he didn’t commit something worse, the way things have gone this year. Its almost a double edged sword with what has happened in our country. On one side you have Trump telling us we need to bring back things like “Merry Christmas”. But then on the other side of that blade so much anguish in our country has surfaced due to Trump and our whole governmental environment. People have become more attacking of each other no matter how or where. Its sad. I know it didn’t all start yesterday, but it seems that its gotten worse. I mean we as Christians in this country have had to become more open to tolerance of everybody else’s faith, practices, identity, etc.. Where do we say, OK, RESPECT OUR FAITH, OUR PRACTICES, AND OUR IDENTITY TOO!! We have a right to celebrate Christmas as much as Jews do Chanukah, as much as Muslims do their months of Ramadan, and all of it. Yet its us who get stifled. NYC has gotten less and less what it was. You’ve heard me in other posts so I’ll leave it at that. Yes, Christmas has become more about the $$$$ and less about how much we put our faith into it. Your faith is beautiful and so is the light you caste on NYC and everywhere you go. You are a beautiful Angel of Light and I send all my love!! xoxoxoxo

    1. I know i am so grateful for that too. Thank you Migueltio for this thought provoking response. We are definitely living in unprecedented times. We need to bring the meaning of Christmas back for sure. Thanks for your kind words friend. Hugs and love xox

  11. That was quite a scene at mass! I’m sure it was incredibly unsettling, especially with the black bag and the bombing attempt earlier.

    Forgive me, but I’m going to be a bit contrary tonight.

    First; Christmas trees in the windows don’t necessarily mean Christ is in the home. For all any of us know, the Mass ranter has one. Like you, I relish the ambience of the lights and decorations and want to think that lights in the window means warmth in the home.

    But the priest proved him right.

    Many years ago Julie and I were at “our” Panera in Toledo. I was in line behind a guy who just lashed out and verbally abused his son in front of everyone. The kid had done nothing wrong, but he was berating the poor boy, telling him he was embarrassing them in front of everybody. All because the boy couldn’t think of what he wanted to order.

    I told him he was the one embarrassing them, and he shouldn’t be yelling at the boy. Mind you, it was pretty bad for me to have stepped in as I did. Well, the guy didn’t like it one bit and he literally put his nose on mine and screamed at the top of his lungs, threatening me over and over. I simply stood there and stared him down till he was spent. He then left, clearly a whipped puppy, humiliated and cowed. A lady told me she was glad I did it; the kid needed to see it wasn’t him who was the problem.

    I know I wasn’t at Mass, so I’m here in the cheap seats. The priest was in a pretty untenable situation and had a split second to decide what to do, especially keeping his flock in mind. The guy I confronted didn’t have a black duffel bag either. But I have to wonder what would have happened if the priest would have just walked over to him, smiled, let him blow himself out, and then ask him to sit and talk. Maybe invite the other parishioners to come over and talk and pray with the guy.

    I know that’s not a very Brooklyn or Manhattan response. Who knows? In that precise moment I might have been tempted to tackle the guy myself. I guess that’s why we try to study God’s Word, to be sure it takes hold when we are sorely tested.

    Well, that’s my buck-25 for the evening. Maybe we are in agreement, that we need to go out and act on our faith as the ranter acted on his convictions. Maybe the act of faith needed to happen right there and then as hard as it may have been, let alone out on the streets.

    1. quite the scene indeed. yeah, you’re right – a christmas tree isn’t the be all end all, that’s for sure. and wow – what an encounter at Panera. Gosh, i can only imagine the tension. You know, during that whole episode on Sunday, you actually crossed my mind, thinking, I wonder what Jeff would do in this situation! Thanks for your buck-25 🙂 appreciate it 🙂 hope you’re having a great night! hugs to you and Julie! x

      1. Well, now you know what I at least THINK I’d do based on what I’ve done in the past. This might sound really strange, but with the shootings and other terrible things that have become standard headlines, I ask myself all the time what the best way would be to handle situation XXX. I’ve thought about what I’d do – what I HOPE I’d do – if someone came into church and did something. I’m just glad you’re OK, both regards that incident this morning and now these incidents at church. And thanks for the compliment; I’m flattered. Very short comment for you at Patreon too. Having a cozy night with Julie and enjoying one last week of vacation before the end of the year. Gonna plug my novel on my Wednesday night post. Hope you’ll check it out. Stay safe, my friend!!

      2. Yeah, that is a really smart – albeit sobering – exercise to do. Because you’re right, with these times you just never know. Best to be prepared. Oh that’s wonderful!! Enjoy!!! 🙂

      1. Uh oh! Hmmmm it should be at the bottom next to the Facebook and Twitter share buttons.

      2. I just put in a message with WordPress so i should hear back shortly about the reblog button, because you’re right! It’s not showing up on my computer either!!

      3. Oh good!! Thank you!! I’ll let you know as soon as i hear. I “upgraded” my site plan and in the process, unfortunately lost some really great features – such as showing up on the WP “reader”, and now apparently the reblog button! *tear* Anywho, thank you for passing my post along to your readers. That’s a huge honor. Have a great night. Big hugs xox

  12. You are my favorite weirdness magnet. Much food for thought here… I like to take my faith outside the walls, like in my blog and the way I treat people (as someone suggested earlier). It seems easier at Christmas time somehow.

    1. hahaha awww thank you Janice 🙂 that’s so awesome! keep takin’ it outside, friend! big hugs xo

  13. Ok first off, in the most non creepy way possible it would be fun to follow you around and watch what happens when you go places! It is never a dull moment,

    Second, though the man has the ‘right’ to believe what he wants and say the same, he is a rude SOB. If he doesn’t like what church stands for, then don’t go. There is no good reason to have done what he did.

    But finally, he may have been loud, and drowned out y’alls voices, but you are showing here he can’t drown out y’alls hearts. We all have our beliefs, and you know ours differ, but neither of us let loud mouth buffoons change those beliefs.

    Stick to your guns lady, be yourself, and keep sharing these stories

    1. Hey Troy! haha yeah, never a dull moment, that’s for dang sure! I completely agree. Everyone has the right to believe what they want, and I totally respect that. But what I don’t respect is someone going into a place of worship and disrespecting and harassing those in attendance. And amen to that – He can’t drown out our hearts! thanks for this thoughtful response. big hugs to you xo

  14. This is definitely food for thought. The question of whether we are able to open up and tell others about what Jesus has done for us is important. Thanks a lot for sharing this. Happy Christmas Season!!😊😊

    1. Thanks friend. Yeah that’s definitely something i have to think about a lot. Happy Christmas season to you too! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 yes! Always! What is your line of work, if i May ask 🙂 Hugs and love xox

      1. Oh wow. That is such an important line of work. Thank you for dedicating your life for the betterment of others. What a beautiful gift.

  15. We are no longer in an era where we can just show up for worship and go home again, secure in the knowledge that everyone respects what we are doing.

    The good news is that we are going to be forced to know what we believe and why, and how to stand up for it. Hopefully with more charity than your new friend displayed.

    You get the most fascinating Masses there. 🙂

    1. That is so so true. Thanks for this thought provoking response JP. you’re right, we need to know what we believe and how to respectfully stand up for it. Amen! Hugs and love xox

  16. Wow! What a post! Thank you so much for sharing and we as followers of Jesus Christ need to stand up for what is right and also for the TRUTH behind Christmas! If he had never stood up for us while he died on the cross where would we have been today? And for that guy I pray that Lord saves his soul and may the Holy Spirit convict him in Jesus Name! God bless and keep you strong! Blessings and hugs Xx 🙏💕✨💯😘

    1. Thank you so much Tammy! So true! I pray that we all remember that truth as the season rolls on. I pray for that guy to 🙂 thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  17. It’s one of the most interesting things about our culture nowadays. It’s considered fine if a man stands up in the middle of a church and shouts things against our God and our faith, but a prayer circle around the flagpole is considered offensive.
    We must not hide our faith, because obviously the other side isn’t afraid to show their hatred towards it.
    Lastly, I think every Christian should think about what they would do if that man had taken a weapon out of his bag and proceeded to attack the church. You’re not comfortable with weapons and don’t believe in self defense, that’s okay. But know how to treat the aftermath of such an attack until EMS arrives, consider getting the church together to make plans on what to do and to have a medical kit ready.

    1. Thanks Pierce. You’re right, it’s a sad juxtaposition that is unfortunately true. And that’s such a good albeit sobering idea. We all need to be prepared for a lot of different scenarios in life that may not be fun to think about but could be potentially life saving, God forbid something tragic comes to pass. Hugs and love xox

  18. Great post. You have much going on around you, and you take advantage of your life to share in an interesting manner. I truly enjoy your posts. Listened to you on the PodCast. You sounded just as I had imagined. You represent yourself well and keep our interests up. Thank you for your work.

    1. thank you so much 🙂 what a kind thing to say! and thank you for listening to the podcast!! that really means so much, truly. hope you have a beautiful night. big hugs to you xox

  19. Thank God all he did was rant. I turned 63 this year and it saddens me that young people like yourself didn’t get to experience Christmas celebrations like we had in the 60s and 70s. Damn my eyes are starting to leak just thinking about them. But any who, here in the country we still say Merry Christmas and call it a Christmas tree. I live in the southern Bible belt and that could be the reason why. However, they may be able to talk a good game but they too are letting the true, meaning of Christmas still slip from our lives. Even though we take our Christmas outside its true meaning seems to be lost in the past. Loved your blog as well as others you have wrote. You have a talent and are obviously blessed. The best part is that you are using the gift God gave you. God Bless you and Merry Christmas.

    1. Yeah, no kidding. i was beyond grateful that nothing serious happened, aside from some yelling. aww, yeah, my mom used to share stories about christmas when she was growing up too. They used to put water down and freeze the backyards in her neighborhood so there was a big ice skating rink. sounds like the idyllic, “leave it to beaver” style Christmas. Thanks for your kind words, it really means a lot. God is good. Merry Christmas to you, friend. xox

  20. I appreciate your comments! You have been having some strange experiences. They have got you and your many readers reflecting on what Christmas is really about. Thanks for sharing. Roland 🙂💗💙

    1. thank you so much Roland 🙂 I really appreciate that. yeah very strange experiences! Hugs and love xox

  21. This is such an interesting and thought provoking piece. Thank you. I like the idea of letting Christmas out of the home. I will definitely be more mindful of showing great kindness, love and compassion this time of year.

    As for the man in the church, even though it’s almost impossible to do, we really shouldn’t judge him or his motives. I’m not denying how unsettling or frightening your experience was. I too would have been very shaken up by it! But there may have been great anguish or pain behind his behavior. Perhaps mental health issues, history of abuse, or maybe he was really depressed. Who knows. Your congregation saw a snapshot of his life at possibly a very low point. I try to, honestly not always with success, to show compassion to others. We don’t know his story or sorrow. Please don’t feel that I’m judging you, more musing out-loud. I’m certainly not perfect myself.

    Merry Christmas friend. I really enjoy your blog. Makes me stop and ponder..

    1. Thank you so much friend. You’re right – we need to show that man compassion. merry christmas! Hugs and love xox

    1. thank you so much. Yeah I was pretty scared. And the recent tragedies definitely crossed my mind. Hugs and love xox

  22. You nailed it. Backing down is not an option. “So if the Son shall set you free, you will be free indeed.” I was freed from addiction 37 years ago. I owe the Son in a huge way. Thanks for your post.

    1. Thank you so much Larry. Wow – 37 years. Congratulations on that incredible victory! God is good! and so is your courage and persistence! Hugs and love xox

  23. Wow! You have really had some experiences in church lately! I thought about your post where the homeless man walked in and chugged the wine this past weekend while we were going to communion at my own church. It got me wondering how our congregation would have reacted. The ranting fellow must have been very frightening! I am so glad everyone was safe. Take care. xo

    1. Thank you friend. I know! Very strange indeed. THere’s gotta be a message in there some where! Yeah, Im also very grateful that there was no violence involved on either case. thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

    1. Thanks for this thoughtful reflection. Yes, let’s be bold for Christ! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  24. Let me start off by saying I am so excited for you! I am loving all the fun and exciting things happening around you. I can’t imagine how scary this was, though. Also I hope you were okay during the blast near Port Authority! Blessings on your week!

    1. Aw, thank you so much Caitlin. That really means a lot. Yeah this was a particularly frightening episode – just because you never can be sure anymore, lately. very scary. thank you friend. big hugs xo

  25. God has not given us a Spirit of fear or timidity, but a Spirit of love and boldness, a sound mind and self-control. (a paraphrase)
    Thank you dear woman for expressing this truth. We take refuge in the Holy Mount Zion of our Messiah.

  26. For me Easter is far more important than Christmas. The resurrection of Christ is of vital importance; while his birth is important only because his life was.The Bible doesn’t say anything about Christmas – its origins have nothing to do with the Bible. The earliest Christians do not appear to have commemorated the nativity of Christ, but only the baptism and resurrection of Christ and the deaths of the martyrs. Celebrating a “birthday” was considered pagan. Personally I celebrate Advent and Epiphany and consider the Advent and Epiphany seasons and Baptism of the Lord far more important and meaningful than Christmas Day.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. Yeah, Easter is definitely the pinnacle of our faith! Big hugs to you x

    1. Thank you so much friend. I really appreciate your prayers and kindness. it means a lot. big hugs to you xox

  27. I went Christmas shopping for my wife last night, and I didn’t even think twice about saying “Merry Christmas” to the gal behind the counter, she smiled and returned the seasonal greeting. Now maybe it’s a little easier here in the south, but I was born and raised in the mid-Atlantics and we say Merry Christmas!

  28. I think you will agree that everyday is “Christmas” for us Christians. So I have actually been compared to the grinch by someone who spent a whole Christmas night disappointed because the father of her baby had not expressed any happiness about the gifts she had gotten them. But she thought I was a grinch because I disagreed to the dynamics of that evening: a total focus on gifts and on food.

    I certainly can’t see myself celebrating Christmas as is. But I do enjoy the intensity of the energy around this time – it’s overwhelming.

    1. thank you so much for this thoughtful reflection. you’re so right! every day IS christmas! i love that 🙂 yeah, we have to remember the reason for the season 🙂 big hugs x

  29. Just a thought – in anger, that man spoke out. If he had the love of your faith, he would not have needed to act as he did. He is just a lost soul crying out in the wilderness. Send him the love you express and bless him on his way. You are absolutely correct in saying that we need to express how we think and feel into our realities, whatever that consists of. That includes wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, even in NYC. Of course, I am in Colorado so it is a whole lot friendlier here. But you are living your faith and beliefs. That is what matters here because it is part of who you are, a magnificent human being, sharing your knowledge with others. Yes, we can share our words, which become small seeds that we plant with others, leaving it up to God to grow the plant. So keep on keeping on. I support you totally. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. Yeah, he was definitely coming from a place of anger or hurt or something. I will definitely try to pray for and have compassion for him…I love colorado. I went to school there! big hugs to you xox

  30. Ha! Great story, great message, I absolutely adore how you take these odds and ends and create a positive message out of everything – one of my ongoing and ever frustrated goals. Oh, boy, church in NYC, never a dull moment. Merry Christmas and thank you for your example!

    1. Thank you so much Rich. oh my gosh what a kind thing to say 🙂 never a dull moment indeed! big hugs ox

  31. More excellent food for thought. Nature abhors a vacuum, and since Christians have not been willing to be part of the public square, letting their witness be known, the secularists and heretics and false religions have flooded in to fill the vacuum.

  32. Sounds like the poor fellow has some authority issues. A chance for someone in the pews to testify as to the power of God in their lives? Not “Shut up!”, but “Be at peace, brother! Jesus loves you!”

    1. Thank you Brian. Yes, i think you’re right on about that…compassion and love. Honestly hard to do though when you’ve got the fear of a mass shooting looming in the back of your mind. Ah well, there is the courage of Christ I guess. big hugs to you friend.

  33. Wow! Can I quote you? Not that I have a post in mind, but God does things inside my head and I still have a bunch of posts before the 25th. Thanks. A lot of people needed to read this.

    By the way, once green and yellow become the norm, someone will be offended by those colors, and eventually all color. It’s easier to be angry at a color than face the emptiness in their soul.

    1. Absolutely! it would be an honor! thank you so much! haha – yeah, the green and yellow police will start to make their grievances known 🙂 jk jk big hugs to you xox

  34. I just noticed that there is no “Like” line to click on when I get the email notice of your posts from WordPress. I now have to go to your website to like it. I think I know why, but curious.

    1. Thanks Walt, for the heads up! Hmmm, I will get in touch with wordpress about that. how very strange!

  35. Great message girl! We live in Ohio and at one point our city was referred to as “ holy Toledo” due to a sarcastic outlook of gangs at the time. The recent years our little city has readopted this nickname of “Holy Toledo” defining it as a place where God’s children are dwelling. Our new slogan is “you’ll do better in Toledo”. I’m thankful we are still full of Christmas Decor in our mall and around our city. It’s always nice to be the first to wish a Merry Christmas since some stores aren’t allowing employees to be the first to say it!

    1. Thanks so much Chelsea! I’m from Ohio and i’ve actually never been to Toledo. Sounds like that needs to change! Thanks for sharing that!! big hugs to you x

  36. There are probably more Christians in Africa and China today than there are in our Western societies. We’ve exchanged Christ for our god of materialism. People feel they are self-sufficient and don’t need the God that builds worlds and incarnated in order to understand us and provide us a way of escape to a better world in time. How sad we prefer the ultimate goal of hell to heaven in today’s secular society. Eventually our own choices will take us where we choose to head. You are right in your observation that the tree inside the home doesn’t substitute for a kindness on the streets of our Western cities. If we demonstrated the spirit of Christmas perhaps there wouldn’t be such a jaundiced view of what Christianity represents in today’s world.

    1. Oh wow, that is a startling static. Sadly, you’re right about that. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Ian, I always appreciate hearing your perspective. big hugs xo

  37. Sometimes the most ardent critics of the Church are either misinformed, or making a cry for help.

    Years back the church which was “home” to our youth group had a whole heap of trouble with kids running around on the roof during the services.

    The church leaders went on to befriend the chief of the troublemakers. In a short period of time his life was changed, and he eventually went on to become a full time vicar!

    Long, long ago a certain “Saul” sought to disrupt and even destroy the early church, his ranting and raving stopped on the Damascus Road.

    Standing in a church service where someone is going crazy, and has a rucksack could indeed be worrying, but in God’s eyes we have (or are) in rebellion. That’s why Jesus came to save sinners just like me.

    Sometimes working things out is tough, but for those who have “come in from the cold” and not been brought up in a Christian environment the transition may involve kicking and screaming.

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+5&version=TLB

    Have a great Christmas.

    1. thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. Yes, I think there are a lot of people crying for help out there. I pray that we can recognize and help them. Thanks for sharing that link. Hugs and love xox

    1. that’s true. We need to ring out our voices of love and true joy. thanks for stopping by! big hugs x

  38. I like to read about people living in alignment with spirit and faith, as you are determined to do. I am however confused and a bit dismayed by your “other side” remark. It seems important not to conflate the wishing of “happy holidays” with some manner of anti-Christianity. My husband is Jewish, and those who know so wish him a Happy Hanukkah, just as he say Merry Christmas to people he knows are Christian. For people who don’t know one another, Happy Holidays includes everyone in the fundamental goodwill and gratitude that mark the season. Rather than a matter of sides being taken, we can embrace the opportunity to spread the good intentions of an open and loving heart, no matter what spiritual tradition (or moral conviction) those good ways arise from.

    Also, so glad everyone at your church is safe. Merry Christmas !

    1. Thank you so much Nichole. That’s a really great point. I guess my remark came out not as I had meant it. I meant the “other side” more as the darkness that is trying to squelch the light. Definitely not people of the Jewish faith or other religions. I personally believe that there is good to be found in every religion, and even though the specific beliefs may be different, that the themes of love and joy and coming together for the good of others — those themes can unite people of all different faiths and should be celebrated! 🙂 Yeah, I’m sorry that my remark came across in a different way. Yes! Let’s spread the good! So glad you stopped by and thanks again for sharing this wonderful perspective! big hugs xox

      1. I appreciate your clarification – I do very much believe that caring creates unity. I’d also like to say that it’s important that all well intentioned people look for good intentions in others. In the same way I hope that “Happy Holidays” isn’t seem as an affront or a danger, nor should “Merry Christmas” be taken that way by those who practice different traditions. I always say “Thank you, Merry Christmas to you, and Happy Holidays.” (/or Happy Hanukkah.”) That way, the tidings and good will are returned in both the communal and individual ways, coexisting in the positive.

        Cheers!

  39. Well, you’ve recognized it accurately: it’s consumerism not Christmas any more.
    Jesus was never born this date, celebration was changed to meet the more popular “barbarian” tradition – purely not a faith-driven decision but a political one.

    I do love those young ones, who rather asks the parents to go out and help people in need instead of getting gifts. That is one of the best part among the USA and its people.

    On the other hand, how could anyone celebrate anything, up until people starve, children die in malnutrition – and no, it is not because they are lazy or because they are not ‘Christian’.

    I bet, if Jesus was here on Earth these days, he would be troubled to see how His message was changed and altered.

    It is great to give, make a present, thinking of someone. Yet, the extent of it serves these days someone else, not God…

    Have a Blessed Day!

    1. Thanks friend. Yeah, there is definitely a lot to think and pray about during this time of year, that’s for sure. I love the giving spirit of the holiday, though 🙂 big hugs to you xo

  40. You ask some great questions in this post. I have experienced a similar scenario in a church I used to work for, and didn’t consider it from the same perspective. Thanks for the thoughts. (If you want to jump in on an OSFGroup, I’m pretty sure you’d get some great dialogue going! :-D)

  41. Triple B,

    Your report about the fellow who ranted during mass reminds me of several instances where Jesus confronts impure spirits. They shriek (like that man) and then are scattered into the wilderness by Jesus (like what your priest did).

    I think you are being too hard on yourself if you believe your response is weak. It doesn’t take any real effort to be destructive like the man was. It is easy to disrupt. Shouting only requires a loose tongue and lack of intellect. It takes much more courage to witness evil, remain strong and be able to write about it. You have prayer, he has ranting. Persons putting Christmas lights out on their windows IS expressing faith. It IS telling people ‘Merry Christmas’.

    You are a strong, young lady deep and rich in faith, love, and compassion. Keep your course.

    Go in peace, serve The Lord.

    Janis.

    1. Hi Janis, thank you so much for your kind words. And that’s a great point. The window decorations are a statement in themselves! Hugs and love xox

  42. Excellent post. How true that we are so afraid to speak out less we be perceived as not tolerant or PC. I can’t imagine how scary that must have been when you saw the man had a duffel bag. I love that thought “take Christmas to the streets.”

  43. Very interesting. I definitely agree that there is a lot more faith practiced in private than public life would lead you to believe. I think most people start out from a background of faith and are shamed and silenced by the ruling class who control the media, fashions, and trends. Why? Because people with worldly power feel threatened by Christians. They can’t control us through flattery, bribery, or threats, so they try to control us through shame and ostracism. I agree with you wholeheartedly–let’s be the first to point out that the Emperor has no clothes on. More people will agree than we think.

  44. I suppose that the ranting man received the reward that he desired, casting a shadow on the service. I applaud the priest for leading the man outside the sanctuary of Peace to where cacophony tends to reign. I trust that you will continue in your new quest to bring the light of that sanctuary out to illuminate the streets. The “other side” may not back down but in the continued presence of Light, they may begin to bow down.

    Pax,
    jbt

  45. his voice and demeanor are indicative of the times. He seeks truth, and he is frustrated that he can’t find it. Everything bad happens when a man feels his voice no longer matters. Great post, as always

  46. Fearless conversation.

    Sometimes I wonder how the story would end if the Church responded in love and honor instead of dismissal. It’s like we’re more concerned for the comfort of the ones already in the fold than those wandering around out in the dark, ‘bah-ing’ their loudest baah’s.

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