Monday, December 24, 2012

Full and Overflowing

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dream.
 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
    and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.” 
The Lord has done great things for us;
    we are glad.
Psalm 126:1-3

How can I express in words the joy that is welling up in my heart, has welled up in my heart, in the past few days?

To see family, friends, so dear.
Hearing the word of God preached, so faithfully, from a dear and godly pastor.
Joining in worship the company of the saints.
Old friends with new babies.
Grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, embracing and laughing and rejoicing.
Watching hearts knit together, memories made.
Trying to capture it all in a moment, in a snapshot,
Freezing time for the days to come.

Christmas is truly, a magical time.

Rejoice! A King is born!

Merry Christmas, all.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Unspeakable Tragedy

"A voice was heard in Ramah,
    weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be comforted, because they are no more."
Matthew 2:18

Lord, have mercy.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Advent Thoughts

From my Advent reading today:

Jesus observed, 'Without me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). Yet we act, for the most part, as though without us God can do nothing. We think we have to make Christmas come, whic is to say we think we have to bring about the redemption of the universe on our own. When all God needs is a willing womb, a place of safety, nourishment, and love.

"Oh, but nothing will get done," you say. "If I don't do it, Christmas won't happen." And we crowd out Christ with our fretful fears.

God asks us to give away everything of ourselves. The gift of greatest efficacy and power that we can offer God and creation is not our skills, gifts, abilities and possessions. The wise men had their gold, frankincense, and myrrh, Paul and Peter had their preaching. Mary offered only space, love, belief.

What is it that delivers Christ into the world - preaching, art, writing, scholarship, social justice? Those are all gifts well worth sharing. But preachers lose their charisma, scholarship grows pedantic, social justice alone cannot save us. In the end, when all other human gifts have met their inevitable limitation, it is the recollected one, the bold virgin with a heart in love with God who makes a sanctuary of her life, who delivers Christ who then delivers us.

- from the essay, "To Be Virgin" by Loretta Ross-Gotta

Printed in the wonderful Advent devotional, Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas. 

With many thanks to my two special students, Salem & Tess, who gave this to me as a gift!