Another Advent Story

Underneath the story of Christmas that we celebrate every year is another story. It is a story of waiting as long and as misunderstood as the 400 years of silence between Malachi and Matthew. This story completes what Christmas began. This story is victory over everything that we have wrestled with from betrayals and reversals, death and disease, inequality and unanswered questions. It is the story of the second Advent. No one sets up a tree for this part of the story. No one decorates it with the four living creatures with seven horns and seven eyes. No one wants to disturb the beauty or color palette we have grown accustomed to. But it is fiercely present, underpinning every carol, eve

My Christmas Prayer for You!

May Christmas remind you how far God came just for you. While the story is simple, the message is profound and life-changing. God broke through the boundary between heaven and earth To come to us as we have asked over and over In a way we could touch and see and understand. However, over time, we decorated the story, Cleaned up the stable, And removed the inconvenience. But God did nothing without purpose. Review the story again. See the straw scattered stable. Hear the animal grunts and pawings. Smell the fodder and manure. Remember that God came into a mess And know again that He comes to you, As you are, not as you wish you were. He wants to take you on a journey of growth That begins in

Don't Open Until . . . ?

If Advent teaches us anything, it is that waiting is the introduction to God’s best gifts. The stories of waiting in the Bible reveal great stories of perseverance as well as heart-breaking stories of people who would not wait, who pushed their own agendas and paid dearly for it. There was exiled waiting, wilderness waiting, imprisoned waiting, unanswered prayer waiting. Only the people who persevered through waiting received what God had been preparing during their waiting times. Nothing about the Christmas story came immediately. Waiting is the one thread woven through the whole story. If we only pick it up at its end, we miss one an important lesson. God takes His time. He doesn’t us

A Startling Story

Startle me out of my complacency, God, this and every day. Dec 4 reading from The Daily Feast. Are we so used to the story of Christmas that we are no longer startled? Think about young Mary, startled by an angel announcement that changed her life and the lives of everyone who lived after her. Think about Joseph, startled by a dream that told him what to do about Mary’s unexplained pregnancy. Think about the shepherds, startled on a hillside by mysterious light and song, so startled that they had to check out the message. To be startled means we see, understand, touch, or experience something so new and fresh that we step back to take another look, just to make sure. What is it about the God

Heart Before Home

I love a decorated house. Getting it there, is another story. No matter how I store, organize or try to schedule; decorating the house for Christmas is messy, chaotic and usually frustrating. I’ve come to understand that maybe it’s because I start at the wrong place. Where does the most important part of Christmas begin? Not in the kitchen, Not by the fireplace with a decorated mantel. Not with a tree, even when loaded with memories. Christmas starts in the heart. It’s where God started. He loved us so much that He gave us Jesus. Maybe that’s where I need to start, too; in my heart. For years, now, one of the very first decorations that comes out is our Advent candle wreath that sits o