Christmas is a time to reflect on the true spirit of giving; a time to give what counts.
Sometimes it’s too easy to get lost in all the sales, checking items off our gift lists, meeting deadlines and the overwhelming amount of extra to-dos and obligations that seem to fall on our shoulders every holiday. It can leave us feeling burnt-out, guilty, stretched thin, overwhelmed, empty as much in our inner selves as our bank accounts. Although we begin well-intentioned and eager to be more Christ-like each year, it is ever so easy to lose sight of the true spirit of Christmas. We are only human after all.
So let’s take a moment to reflect upon what Christmas is really all about: it’s celebrating the birth of a baby, of new life brimming with hope, the coming of a Savior who will bring peace to our longing and tired souls. At Christmas time we give gifts because we, too, desire to emulate the greatest gift God has ever given: His Son! Our gift-giving is merely an extension, an outward sign, of the gift of ourselves, our love, our gratitude, our time and effort. We want the recipient to truly know that he/she matters to us, and that we love him/her. In the end what really matters, however, is not so much the gift, but the fact that we give of ourselves. Let us not forget that!
All this being said, sharing gifts is a lovely and important tradition that is beautifully and wholly human, and which makes each more like the Father. We are as much body as soul, and it is often through the physical gift that we comprehend the deeper spiritual gift.
“They bring me comfort and joy. I bless my family and friends with these pieces all of the time.” -Cheryn
Be the One to give a Blessing this Christmas.
Whether it be through one of our versatile and beautiful Blessing Bracelets (a great gift for everyone), or through another gift, I invite you to be the one to give a blessing this Christmas through your gift and presence. Be the vessel of God’s grace to those you gather with, the stranger you meet at the check-out counter, and most of all to those closest to you.
As you draw near the manger and kneel before the Infant King this Christmas, open yourself to the invitation to be an extension of the love brimming from the Christ-child’s heart. Be His hands, His feet, His voice and His arms to all those He came to save. May His personal love for you be the greatest blessing and gift you receive this Christmas.
Wear this bracelet as a reminder that pure joy rests in the love of God. May you be surrounded by His unconditional love this Christmas Season, and always.
Today’s post and photos comes to you from our Brand Curator, Madi. A big thank you to her for sharing her experience and reflections with us!
Advent, which began on Sunday, is the beginning of the new year in the church. The word itself means coming. Oh the beauty of new beginnings, the freshness of new seasons. How beautiful is it that we have a church that starts its new year in winter, a season of darkness and nature taking its course to journey to new life. It’s so like Jesus to do that, to give us newness in the old, to come in the darkest night, the darkest time of the year, and bring His dazzling light in the form of a child in a manger in Bethlehem.
One way to prepare this Advent is to dive into traditions and prayer with the family. This season is such a sweet time of traditions, preparation, hope and the chance to start anew.
The Advent Wreath
Our My Saint My Hero Experience Boutique hosted an Advent Experience this past week. We gathered around the table in community to make Advent Wreaths, something we’d love to share with you in the hopes that you too can find renewal in the season with your family. If you wanted to make your own simpler Advent wreath, all you’d need is faux eucalyptus garland around a gold wreath candle holder and Advent candles.
Why Have an Advent Wreath?
Our dear friend, Father Kalu, shared with us the meaning of this beautiful tradition, emphasizing “the family that prays together, stays together” (Father Patrick Peyton). He explained that there are four candles in an advent wreath, one lit each Sunday leading up to Christmas. Each candle symbolizes the four centuries of waiting before Christ’s birth. On the first, second, and fourth Sundays of Advent, the purple candles are lit, symbolizing prayer, penance and the royalty of Jesus. On the third Sunday, the pink candle is lit, symbolizing the joy of the Lord.
The Advent wreath is a beautiful opportunity for prayer as the candles are lit, especially together with the family. You could reflect on Scripture together or pray over a different person each week. Amongst the women that were there, we shared glory stories of the Lord’s faithfulness in prayer within our families – it is hard, vulnerable, and attacked, but the fruits of this prayer together are so worth it all.
Let’s gather together this season, friends, and begin again this Advent season to prepare a way for the coming of our Savior. Let’s light the world up today with His love, especially amongst our families.
Providentially, early this month, on the feast of All Saints Day, we celebrated the grand opening of our experience boutique store located in Rolling Hills Estates, California. It was a huge success and we thank each and every one who contributed in making this event an unforgettable experience, from our team members, to our families and friends, to our amazing support team…each of you!
“Mainly the vision was a sacred space…and it’s an experience boutique, somewhere people can experience their own dignity as daughter or son of the King. All the aspects of the space from the raw, cracked floor with silver lining, to the deep, starlit ceiling, are meant to elevate people to majesty beyond ourselves…a place to connect heaven and earth.” -Christina Yep (chief store interior designer)
The starlit ceiling while it was being completed.
We hope you can relive this incredibly blessed day through these videos and photos, and invite you to come experience the store firsthand. It truly is an experience! Our prayer and hope is that you may tangibly feel God’s presence and your worth and dignity as His daughter/son. Know you matter and make a difference in our world. God is real, prayer works, and love heals. You are called to be an instrument of God’s love: first to experience it deeply, and in turn, to share that love in your daily life.
Fr. Francis blessing the store.
We are not like any other store because our mission reaches far beyond numbers. We know the spiritual and missionary aspect of the My Saint My Hero business model is what drives, moves, and leads us, and ultimately is the goal and measure of our success.
Louisa DiBernardo, our store manager, shared these thoughts with us and it beautifully illustrates the spirit behind all that we do here.
The beginning of every month I worry how will we achieve our goals. The only answer I come up with is “Only by the grace of God.” He sends us a balance of customers to achieve our goals. We touch souls, we spread our mission, we pray with those in need. HE gives us our balance and we need to make sure that we hear Him.
Today is #GivingTuesday. The natural response to feeling deep gratitude is to pay it forward. So after a long weekend of celebrating the gifts in our lives, and thanking God and each other for these gifts, it is beautiful to have a day where we stop to think of others. Gratitude is a virtue that grows in the measure it is given away, and the result is happiness.
Each of us is called to be a force of good in the world, and each in a unique and personal way. The Holy Spirit guides our hearts and show us how.
Jennifer shares how she personally felt called to share the gift of a blessing through our Blessing Bracelets. She jokes if she gave them away every time someone complimented her on them, she would have none left. However she does reflect that, “If we have received any of that comfort, then guess what He does? He turns us to another person and then we can be the arms and legs of Jesus to that person during that time…It kind of gives me an idea that when I walk besides someone who is going through an especially difficult time, maybe that’s the time I’ll share it.”
Today is a wonderful reminder and opportunity for us to share, to give this gift of a blessing. Use the promo code: SHAREONE to receive 60% off selected pieces on our website.
The true gift of being a part of the My Saint My Hero family is the opportunity it allows us to bring gratitude, hope and most of all love into the world. We are not only changing hearts one person at a time all around our country with our wearable blessings, but we are changing actual lives all over the world with the work you are all providing by your sales.
“When I was 4 years old I dreamed… when I grow up I want to make jewelry… That was a dream… and now it came true… thank YOU!”
-YOUNG GIRL RESCUED FROM HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN CAMBODIA AND NOW WEAVING PEACELINKS FOR MY SAINT MY HERO
You matter! You are making a difference in the world! We are so grateful for you!
Large families are a huge blessing, especially at the holidays! As the youngest of eight children I have many memories of waiting for family to arrive on Thanksgiving. I had brothers and sisters driving home from college and from their own homes (bringing my nieces and nephews that were like brothers and sisters to me as they were more my age than my siblings). The anticipation built in me as I waited for our quiet home to be transformed into hub of laughter, fun, singing, and lots and lots of sharing. When I was young I took all of this for granted, I don’t anymore.
Many things have changed since I grew from being the baby in the family to having a family of four children of my own. I realize now that the presence of one thing connects every thanksgiving I have celebrated over the last 50 years: PRAYER. Throughout the years there have been many different forms of prayer depending on the household hosting the gathering that year, but every meal has always started in a prayer of Thanksgiving for the food we were about to share, for all of our blessings, and a prayer of petition for all those that would not have all that we had that day.
I will never forget one prayer in particular as long as I live. It was the prayer my niece’s husband prayed at their home the year he found out he had A.L.S. There was not a dry eye in the backyard tent (like I said our family is large and most houses can’t accommodate all of us) as he read from the book of Psalms in his bible. The night ended with the whole family singing Hallelujah accompanied by another niece’s boyfriend on his ukulele and all I could think of was the multitude of prayers being sent to heaven for him as I was reminded of the saying, “singing is like praying twice!” Two years later he is miraculously still in amazing physical health despite his diagnosis. He has an army of family and friends praying for him and, whether his good health is due to these prayers or to modern medicine, EVERY day is worthy of thanksgiving prayers for him.
Thanksgiving This Year
Today I fly to Denver to be with a whole new family this year for Thanksgiving… the family of my future daughter-in-law. I am bringing along a bag full of Blessing Bracelets to share. My prayer is that every time we look down at these bracelets they will be a reminder of the love shared on this beautiful occasion and of being blessed, once again, as our family continues to grow.
Gratitude for me is a supernatural grace that raises my heart and soul above the pain of suffering and loss, to a place of love and peace. It transports me to a place where I feel I can join my heart with others and mutually lift the other up, a place where loneliness can be healed by friendship, compassion, family and new life.
Gratitude takes me to a place where I feel held in God’s arms, protected in the mantle of Our Blessed Mother, and reminds me that my Guardian Angel is with me. It reminds me to call on Archangel Michael to protect me.
Gratitude reminds me what a gift it is to be united with Christ and that His light reignites and illuminates. It reminds me that one day, by God’s grace, I will be able to sit at the banquet in heaven with all my loved ones around me. For me this is the place of gratitude- a place where I look around the table and feel loved.
This Thanksgiving we will have the grace to be surrounded by all our loved ones, some physically, and others spiritually when we close our eyes and connect our heart with all our loved ones who are either away or have gone before us, and feel the love flow in the rhythm of our unified heart beats.
This is us last year, preparing our hearts and setting the table for our Thanksgiving meal.
This Thanksgiving, I am incredibly grateful to be here! I am grateful to experience gratitude and to feel loved! This year our Thanksgiving tradition will include my immediate family and our dear beloved family friends as we celebrate a weekend of holy matrimony in addition to Thanksgiving! We will celebrate this couple’s love, and the gift of two new grandchildren in our extended family this year. This Thursday we will join together to feast, seated along the benches among the fields as my husband cooks up the turkeys, and we string lights between the trees. The feast will continue as we partake in the Holy Mass, Matrimony, and celebrations! From my family to yours I wish you a Thanksgiving filled with supernatural gratitude that overflows with love! Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!
When it comes to gifting, especially to our family members, I find that one of the biggest challenges is finding something meaningful to both you and the receiver, and that it adequately expresses your heart. It’s about finding that special something you hope they will treasure and keep coming back to time and time again.
Carol shares how she so beautifully found that perfect Baptism gift that continues to bless both the baby and his parents.
“The greatest gift I can give is to encourage his parents to remember their purpose…I wanted to get his mom a bracelet so that every time she was holding him, rocking him, taking care of him…that she could look down and remember that her greatest mission aside from being a follower of Christ, is to raise this baby in the way of the Lord. Fast forward a year and a half, she wears that bracelet every single day. It’s been real special for me to be able to encourage a young woman in that way.”
As we enter the time to reflect on the true spirit of giving and begin to make our lists of the gifts we will impart this Christmas, consider gifting the gift of a blessing through our various blessing pieces.
With the start of this beautifully crisp month of November most of us begin thinking about preparing and decorating for the holidays. I love these next few months because of the emotions, the festivities, and the traditions that are brimming with meaning, reminding us why these days are so special. These months are times of gratitude and love, of family and friends, of light and warmth.
Do something special this year.
Instead of place cards, gift your loved ones with a personalized Gratitude Bracelet: a keepsake they can wear that will remind them of your love all year long. As we set the table we lovingly think about each person by name because each of them is precious to us, each one has been invited into our home and hearts by name. This year, as your loved ones gather around the table, let them know with an extra special detail that your gratitude for their presence in your life is something you want them to remember long after the turkey is gone and wherever they may find themselves in the future.