Sunday, December 25, 2016

GLORIA!

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Are We Ready?

We're almost there.  It's Christmas Eve Day.  Are we ready for the arrival of Baby Jesus? Of course not.  Fortunately, God-with-us, Emmanuel, comes knowing that we fall short of the mark, that we don't measure up, that we are still made to give and forgive, to be in relationship, to reconcile and repent, to love and be loved.  Here's the Good News for this day: we may not be ready for Jesus, but Jesus is ready for us.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Almost There ...

We're almost there.  Christmas Eve is tomorrow.  But while we may be excited about our imminent arrival at Christmas, let's do ourselves a favor and enjoy this last full day of Advent.  Let's take some time to reflect, to sit quietly, to just be.  Le'ts open ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Let's enjoy the last bit of this journey.  We're almost there.  But were not there yet - so let's enjoy and give thanks for where we are.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Deep Breath

With Christmas just a couple of days away, I'm feeling a bit harried.  There's just too much to do.  However, when I begin to feel overwhelmed, I pause and take a deep breath and try to remember where I am: Advent.  Right until the end of this season we are supposed to watch and wait, be present in the moment so we can be present for the arrival of the Christ child.

Too much going on?  Take a deep breath. Jesus is coming.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Longest Night

Today is the winter solstice.  This evening members of the Upper Valley Community will come together to remember those who without adequate, stable housing who have died over the past year.  For many, this is a time of joy and celebration.  But for others, this season of long nights and frigid temperatures is an hour to worry about survival.  As we prepare room for the Christ child in our hearts, let us honor the baby Jesus by rededicating ourselves to finding and preparing rooms for our homeless neighbors in need.

N.B. For my Upper Valley readers, there will be a vigil at Tri-County CAP on 57 Mechanic Street in Lebanon to remember those who died over the past year.  Please join us if you can at 5:30.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

In the Face of Darkness

Yesterday was one of those days when the bad news kept on coming.  The Russian ambassador was murdered in Ankarra.  A terrorist drove into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin.  Closer to home, the final consequential act of the 2016 presidential election took place reminding us of the divisions in our own country.  It was a dark day.

Now, as I reflect on this, I contemplate the funeral service I will lead later this afternoon and the conversation I had with the family, which does not belong to the church I serve, and I have hope.  The family members have a variety of different understandings about religion yet their focus was on celebrating the life of their beloved and supporting each other during a difficult time.  In contrast to the darkness, in a moment opened by death, the light shone through.

 We welcome the light during this season of Advent because we know its source and we recognize our need.  Welcoming the Christ child into our lives is the way we who follow the path of Jesus can face the darkness.

Monday, December 19, 2016

T Minus Five and Counting ...

I thrilled to watching moon shots when I was a kid.  The countdown before the mighty Saturn V rocket blasted off built a sense of anticipation.  Going into outer space was a big deal.  It still is, even if bumming a ride from the Russians to get to the space station may not have the same romance.

Advent can be like this too.  Some of us have been doing it for so long, we've lost sight of how exciting this season should be.  Perhaps we're just too caught up in the details.  But let's not lose sight of the fact that we're preparing for something remarkable.  And it's almost here!

So get excited.  It's just five days until Christmas.  Which means we still have some time to prepare for the amazing thing that God has done, will do, and is doing in and through Jesus.