Project Christmas Returns!
Every Advent season, we undertake Project Christmas on Seize the Day. It’s that time again! We partner with wonderful not-for-profit agencies that are doing God’s work in the world to help needy families. I’m excited this year to start with Food for the Poor. If you’re interested in helping this great charity, which my family and I personally support, please go to www.foodforthepoor.org. During the Advent season, we’ll be giving you many opportunities to help those in need. If God has blessed you, I hope you’ll consider returning the blessing to someone who needs you this year! Be sure to listen to Seize the Day for more great opportunities to give.
This all started as a response to The White Envelope story. It is a tradition that we have taken on, and hope that you will do the same. If you’ve never heard the story, here it is. Enjoy!
The White Envelope
By Nancy Gavin
Editor’s Note: This is a true story that is provided to us by the family of the author. Even though Nancy passed away two years after her article first appeared in Woman’s Day Magazine in 1982, her family continues to keep alive the tradition of the white envelope. This article has also inspired The White Envelope Project and web site.
It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree at this time of the year for the past 10 years or so. It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it. You know, the overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma, the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.
Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner city church. The kids were mostly black. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.
As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without head gear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously couldn’t afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.”
Mike loved kids — all kids. He understood kids in competitive situations, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner city church.
On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition — one year sending a group of mentally challenged youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas — on and on… The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.
As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. Still, the story doesn’t end there. You see, we lost Mike several years ago due to cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. Yet Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further, with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation, watching as their fathers take down their envelopes. Mike’s spirit, like the spirit of Christmas, will always be with us.
Helping to Build Better Marriages
Now Available – God’s Purpose for Marriage
Marriage is under attack in our culture today. Half of marriages end in divorce. Society wants to redefine marriage. What is God’s purpose for marriage? In this talk, I use Scripture and the timeless teachings of the Church to teach about God’s Purpose For Marriage – relationship, covenant, sacrament, family, holiness, unitive and procreative, and permanent. If you’re married, if you’re thinking of getting married or if you know someone who is married, this talk is a must-hear! Download it today and invite your friends to do the same. Pray for God’s grace for all husbands and wives. Click on the link below to download God’s Purpose For Marriage for just $2.99.
Practical Ways to Live Out Your Sacrament of Marriage
I recently gave a series of talks at a marriage seminar in St. Petersburg, FL. One of the talks was Practical Ways to Live Out Your Sacrament of Marriage. That talk is now available!
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The Church of the Next 100 Years
On Palm Sunday, I did a teaching at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Port Richey, FL called The Church of the Next 100 Years. The occasion was OLQP’s 100th anniversary celebration. The audio of this talk is now available for download for just $2.99.
In The Church of the Next 100 Years, I take a brief trip back over the last 100 years, and talk about a greater history of the people of God. I take ten Scripture passages from Lent and draw similarities between God’s people of the past and God’s people of the present. Are we so much different than the children of Israel? And what will become of God’s people in the course of the next 100 years? I think you’ll find this talk to be thought provoking and fascinating!
To download The Church of the Next 100 Years for just $2.99 today, click below!
Share the Faith!
Have you ever been asked, “Why do Catholics believe that? And where’s that in the Bible?” So many people, non-Catholic and Catholic alike, have misunderstandings and misconceptions about what Catholics believe and why. My Catholic Apologetics CDs will help you explain what Catholics believe and where we find that in the Bible. Click on my Web Store to order yours today!
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Volume I includes teachings on: The Eucharist, The Papacy & Peter, Confession, Salvation, Marian Beliefs and The Communion of Saints
Volume II includes teachings on: Sacred Tradition, Moral Issues, Authority, Purgatory, The Bible and Baptism