Mary Ellen Robinson
Chief Operating Officer
The Christophers wish everyone a wonderful and joyous Advent and Christmas season. Our offices have been very busy lately as we fill orders for holiday stocking stuffers and greet friends stopping by to pick up extra copies of our 2015 edition of “Three Minutes a Day.” This year’s book contains the kind of new and surprising reflections our readers have become accustomed to, and it is already receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback.
Here’s one thank-you note we received from a New York priest who heads a high school: “Thank you for the very useful and timely books which already have been put to use challenging our students. They also have provided the reason to educate the students about the vital mission of The Christophers. Know of my continued prayers.”
We are so appreciative of the wonderful feedback from our Christopher friends, and we remain committed to creating the highest quality materials to provide daily inspiration in people’s lives. Aside from our “Three Minutes a Day” book, other new offerings include a Peace Prayer Card and a Forgiveness magnet, and we encourage everyone to order extra copies and share them with loved ones during this special time of year.
On the first Sunday of Advent, the final day of his visit to Turkey, and the solemnity of Saint Andrew (the patron of the Church of Constantinople), Pope Francis participated in an Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy presided over by Patriarch Bartholomew I. After the Patriarch of Constantinople spoke, the Pope gave an address where he noted that three distinctive voices are being raised in our time that cannot be ignored.
Speaking of the poor, he said, “We cannot remain indifferent before the cries of our brothers and sisters. These ask of us not only material assistance – needed in so many circumstances – but above all, our help to defend their dignity as human persons, so they can find the spiritual energy to become once again protagonists in their own lives.”
Speaking of victims of conflicts around the world, he said, “We hear this resoundingly here, because some neighboring countries are scarred by an inhumane and brutal war…. Taking away the peace of a people, committing every act of violence – or consenting to such acts – especially when directed against the weakest and defenseless, is a profoundly grave sin against God, since it means showing contempt for the image of God which is in man.”
And lastly, talking about young people, he said, “Today, tragically, there are many young men and women who live without hope, overcome by mistrust and resignation. Many of the young, influenced by the prevailing culture, seek happiness solely in possessing material things and in satisfying their fleeting emotions. New generations will never be able to acquire true wisdom and keep hope alive unless we are able to esteem and transmit the true humanism which comes from the Gospel and from the Church’s age-old experience.”
The pope’s statements remind us of the spirit of expectation of advent. We live in a very imperfect world, where people struggle daily under extremely adverse conditions, and beyond the measure of mere survival, hope itself can become as elusive for some as safety or basic necessities for others. Christ comes into this world through all those willing to open their hearts and share their gifts to lift people up. We are called in this Advent season to remember a world waiting for Christ, to reflect on those aspects of our lives still not surrendered to Him, and prepare to become more fully the Christophers, the Christ-bearers, we are called to be.
Wishing you peace and blessings during this Christmas season!
Mary Ellen Robinson