But something has been troubling me lately. I cannot shake it. It is this whole idea of being a Professional Church Guy. The part that has me really afraid is not "Can I pay the bills this month" but rather, "I'm paying the bills by peddling the Gospel." I'm scared of that. Socrates thought the sophists were little more than prostitutes because they offered wisdom for money. Jesus told the Apostles in Matthew 10:8, "Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give."
This is my first Christmas with my daughter, Kateri Marie. She is the most beautiful little girl that God has ever created and is such a happy baby that it seems effortless to raise her. Shannon and I hope to build traditions this year that will last her the rest of her childhood. As she gets older, we always want to emphasize the spiritual reasons for the season, so that means we have to think "Advent" and not just "Christmas".
We could not afford to buy an Advent wreath or a decent manger scene (next year!), but we have made do with a 3 foot plastic tree from Target plopped on our end table. Though we didn't buy gifts for each other this year, we bought Kateri a toy and about 10 other people "just had" to buy her something as well, so those are the gifts under the tree.
My favorite part of these last few days of Advent is reading to Kateri about the meaning of Christmas. Sure she is only six months old and has no idea what I'm saying, but it still makes this dad so happy to share our Faith with her! We have several books that a friend and school teacher purchased for us regarding Christmas, both religious and not-so-religious (Clifford's First Christmas fits this description!). Reading to my daughter is definitely a highlight of my day, even when she is trying so hard to shove the corner of the book into her mouth.