Friday, December 26, 2014

After Christmas Day

After Christmas Day (from the Book of Common Prayer)

Almighty God, who hast poured upon us the new light of
thine incarnate Word: Grant that the same light, enkindled in
our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through the same
Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in
the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


Thank you for joining me again this Advent and Christmas! See you again next year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Two Christmas Eve poems by Madeleine L'Engle

The Risk of Birth, Christmas, 1973
by Madeleine L'Engle

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late.

That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour & truth were trampled by scorn–
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.

When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn–
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.


Come, Lord Jesus
by Madeleine L'Engle

Come, Lord Jesus! Do I dare
Cry: Lord Jesus, quickly come!
Flash the lightning in the air,
Crash the thunder on my home!
Should I speak this aweful prayer?
Come, Lord Jesus, help me dare.

Come, Lord Jesus! You I call
To come (come soon!) are not the child
Who lay once in the manger stall,
Are not the infant meek and mild.
You come in judgement on our all:
Help me to know you, whom I call.

Come, Lord Jesus! Come this night
With your purging and your power,
For the earth is dark with blight
And in sin we run and cower
Before the splendid, raging sight
Of the breaking of the night.

Come, my Lord! Our darkness end!
Break the bonds of time and space.
All the powers of evil rend
By the radiance of your face.
The laughing stars with joy attend:
Come Lord Jesus! Be my end!

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Nativity Painting

I'm traveling today, so no deep thoughts, just an image for you.
This is actually a sort of game. I don't know the title of the piece or the artist. It actually looks like a mash-up. Anyone know?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Love that Felt

On this fourth week of Advent we light the candle of Love.

The Christmas season brings out so many “loves” in people. They’ll exclaim: “I love that Christmas carol!” or “I can’t wait to make those sugar cookies, I just love that recipe,” or “I love the smell of Christmas trees, don’t you?” or “Look at that street, I love all those lights!”

We love the sounds, the tastes, the smells, the sights... but what about our fifth sense? We don’t often talk about the “touch” of Christmas. It’s really better to think of it in terms of “feeling.” So as you take stock of your own five senses, stop for a minute and think.

It is that fifth sense that captures the true essence of Advent: His coming. For the very first time God, in human terms, felt. He felt pain as he was squeezed from Mary’s blessed but very young womb. He probably felt discomfort as he was placed on an itchy bed of straw. He felt the warmth of His mother’s embrace. And for first time, He felt hunger and thirst.

But Jesus, the Son, also felt the overwhelming LOVE of the Father, the radiant stream of light from the star, the simple homage of the shepherds, and the extravagant worship of the Magi.

Before being born into this broken and dark world, Jesus had perfect communion with the Father and Spirit. He didn’t need the binding of human form in order to experience God’s Love. Yet in doing so, He embodied Love for us. Through His birth God demonstrated an unconditional love towards mankind. In life He showed a love of justice and peace. Through His death God revealed a love of ultimate sacrifice. And with His resurrection, a love of pure redemption.

So when we think on all the sounds, tastes, smells, and sights of Christmas, don’t forgot to ponder the “feeling” of Christmas: When Love came down in human form.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bonhoeffer's "Love Letter from Cell 92"

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote this to his fiancée from prison: 

“Dear Maria—I think that we’re going to have an exceptionally good Christmas. . . I used to be very fond of thinking up and giving presents, but now that we have nothing to give, the gift God gave us in the birth of Christ will seem all the more glorious: the emptier our hands, the better we understand. . . The poorer our quarters, the more clearly we perceive that our hearts should be Christ’s home on earth.” 

 –Love Letters from Cell 92.