Showing posts from December, 2016

A War on Christmas?

The real war on Christmas  has nothing to do with  a greeting or  the proper decorations atop the tree.  The real antithesis  to the news of this child born long ago  in an out of the way town  is found in our incessant desire for more; oppression of any person or people groups; obsession with power; manifest destiny;  hoarding of goods and riches; systematized racism;  classism; nationalism parading as religious piety; xenophobia; fear; supercessionism. These and more hold the good news at bay not the manner in which we greet one another  for less than one twelfth of the year.  May we have a Christmas filled  with fear and awe  of the One who became flesh  that we might be saved  from ourselves.

The Wait Is Over - Did We Miss It?

There was so much build up; so much anticipation. We had waited so long. Our expectations were so high. But things didn't go the way we had planned. This wasn't exactly what we thought we were waiting for. This wasn't what we had hoped for. For what did all of our waiting get us? A baby. We wanted the sky to split. We wanted the earth to shake. We wanted retribution. We wanted our kind of justice; the Dirty Harry, Punisher kind of justice. We wanted freedom at the expense of the oppressors. We wanted our enemies to be dispatched. And what did our deepest desires get us? A baby. A newborn baby. Born in an out of the way town. Born to a yet to be wed couple. Born in the manner in which all babies are born. Born through water and blood. Born crying with his first breath. This is who we got; A baby. Yet, somehow we have received more than we bargained for. Babies have a way of changing everything. And this baby does just that. This birth turns ever

Advent 2016 - The Season of Love

Advent Week 4   This week we light the fourth candle on the Advent wreath. We light this candle in love;  Jesus is love. Matthew 1:18-25 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.  Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.  But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."   All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:  "Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, &quo

Advent 2016 - The Season of Joy

Advent Week 3   This week we light the third candle on the Advent wreath. We light this candle in joy;  Jesus is our joy. Isaiah 35:1-10 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,    the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,    and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,    the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord,    the majesty of our God.  Strengthen the weak hands,    and make firm the feeble knees.  Say to those who are of a fearful heart,    ‘Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God.    He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense.    He will come and save you.’  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,    and the ears of the deaf unstopped;  then the lame shall leap like a deer,    and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,    and streams in the de

Theotokos - God bearer

This Advent, I am considering what it means to be "Theotokos", the God bearer. I love the anticipation that characterizes Advent. However, it seems to me that it is not enough to passively wait for the arrival of hope, peace, joy, and love. Rather, this waiting is active. I must remember that ultimately the calling is to birth hope, peace, joy, and love into the world. That is a here and now proposition. And along the way, do I have the courage to join in singing Mary's song, the Magnificat, the Ode of the Theotokos? "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the power

Advent 2016 - The Season of Peace

Advent Week 2   This week we light the second candle on the Advent wreath. “We light this candle in peace; Jesus is our peace.” Isaiah 11:1-10 "A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.  The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.  His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear;  but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.  Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.  The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead