Blessing: Joy

This blessing may come as a song or a silence;As hearty bread or exquisite sorbet;As belly laughter or gentle hug,As enlivening idea or painstaking process. This blessing might rest on you, gently, in the deep, star-filled night,Or push, pull, and play among sunbeams and cold breezes.This blessing might hide, especially when you are most desperate…

The Joy of Christmas

Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror.I am weary with my moaning; / every night I flood my bed with tears;I drench my couch with my weeping. / My eyes waste away because of grief.~from Psalm 6 We are now in…

We Need a Little Advent

I’ve been tempted to cancel Lent before, but never Advent. I’m a true Advent-lover. At church we sing Advent hymns—no Christmas carols until Christmas Eve. At home we do Advent candles and a calendar. My children have been known to put away the baby Jesuses from our nativity sets until Christmas Eve. This year, though, there’s a…

Ashes in Advent

As I was preparing for an Advent service of communion and anointing, I pulled out the little bowl—hand-formed and glazed a brilliant blue—that we use for anointing oil. To my surprise, the bowl still contained ashes from Holy Week. So there I was in mid-December, trying to pour the ashes on our lily plants and…

Advent Reflection: Good News!

Luke 2:8-20 The story of the shepherds and angels is set at night, in the dark and quiet. I don’t mean Lawrence nighttime dark and quiet with streetlights and traffic noise in the background. Or even rural dark and quiet with the glow of the house and the hum of heater and appliances. These shepherds…

Advent Blessing: Peace

It seems that most blessings are for peace(if not love, or faith, or some other such vague ideal)–A few words to calm you down and get you out the door.But this is not that kind of a blessing.It will not make everything OKOr pretend you can escape trouble—for yourself or for this world. This blessing…

Advent Reflections: Kairos at Christmas

During December, Chronos, or chronological time, is emphasized in many ways. The secular world tells us how many shopping days we have until Christmas. At home, many of us use some sort of Advent calendar—counting down the days until December 25. At church we mark the passing of time by lighting a new candle each…

Advent Reflection: Creation Care and Incarnation

Emmanuel. God with us. Really. In the flesh. The incarnation means that in the most real and concrete way, God is connected to the physical reality of this planet. God has inhabited a human body with skin, hair, blood, bone. God has had dirt under fingernails, has drunk thirstily from the offered cup. God has…

Advent Reflection: The Grace of Zechariah’s Silence

(Luke 1:5-25) After the Angel Gabriel’s lengthy proclamation to Zechariah, the father-to-be responds, “How will I know this is so?” Most people assume that Zechariah is questioning the fact that Elizabeth will become pregnant at such an advanced aged. But really, what kind of a stupid question would that be? “How will I know this…