Greeted by the light of Dawn…

Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door. Emily Dickinson

How often do we sit on a cloudy day longing for the sun’s light. With its appearance, colors are brilliant, walks more pleasant and its warmth embraces us as we go through the day.

We do not know when we will be greeted by the light of dawn. This greeting may bring a new beginning, a fresh idea or a true sense of renewal. It is easy to wish for these life-giving changes but this wish often remains in our hearts, longing in the dark.

Take a chance – be ready – open your doors to the promise of dawn. When it arrives, may you feel encouraged by all it offers. Wait for it eagerly with doors open and hearts watching for its arrival. Dawn shines light on all things new – be encouraged, this includes you!

Christmas has just begun!

I thank Mark for this contribution as we settle into the days that follow the BIG celebration.

Thurman writes: When the star in the sky is gone, When the Kings and Princes are home, When the shepherds are back with their flocks, The work of Christmas begins: To find the lost To heal the broken To feed the hungry To release the prisoner To teach the nations To bring Christ to all To make music in the heart. There are twelve days of Christmas. If you see Christmas, and you have seen it and will hear it today; say something, do something and believe something.

reflections on this Christmas Eve

What an unlikely place to be on the eve of bearing God’s child!

As if they had not already gone through enough. I wonder what it was like for Joseph and Mary to prepare for this moment. It seems that trying to make any plans was futile. Mary and Joseph began with certain images of what their life would be like. After all they were raised in a close community–they were trained in the tradition of their ancestors–their life would be a mirror of their parents and grandparents. Of course we know the story. Nothing about the life that Mary and Joseph  shared would be like their close relatives.

Nestled in the midst of a town named in the prophets, they would constantly be challenged to comprehend where they belonged. Visited by angels and encouraged by dreams this family would begin with little security and carry with them a different understanding of belonging.

Belonging to a greater community and charged to raise the child who would grow to lead a new “Way”. These parents would always have to step back in the quiet and trust.

What an unlikely place to be on the eve of bearing God’s child! In a stable, far from home – alert and aware. Isn’t it true – in the most uncomfortable moment we can find the greatest strength?! When all of the familiar is torn away, the night sky is brighter and strangers become friends.

The story is told that a child was born tonight. Vulnerable and yet determined – determined to sit in the center of this fragile earth and make it home.

Come Lord Jesus, our guest to be…

(Pre)Occupied

Few have been this preoccupied with tents

since you recklessly pitched one among us.

I would have chosen something more stable,

not quite so porous and vulnerable,

safe, secure, readily significant,

and missed the whisper of evening breezes,

the restless susurration of canvas,

and that one appearing in the shadows,

light flinting off flesh in a fading sun,

fireflies dancing in the night,

rousing my longing

to step into your own

luminous darkness.

The Rev. Jay Johnson – Peculiar Faith

Do we remember what we are preparing for?

Tomorrow we celebrate the third Sunday of Advent. The third Sunday — how has time moved so quickly? The weeks have moved at an unusually fast pace.

Advent 3 focuses on preparation. Oh boy – I sense a moment of uncomfortable redirection. What’s new about preparation? After all, Christmas is only two weeks away — there is so much to do! Family is coming, trees are being  decorated as gifts are purchased and wrapped to reflect in glitter the lights around them. It is all about preparation now!

Yet John the Baptist in his rough and blunt manner meets us tomorrow — this was and is his cry to all who can hear: “Prepare the way.” This preparation is of a different sort. We are to roll up our sleeves and secure all that might blow away at the arrival of God-among-us. This preparation has to do making ready a place for people to meet this God and know the wonder of God’s kingdom here and now.

We should not be surprised — this redirection comes at just the right time. Lest we forget our own steps on this sacred journey, John welcomes us tomorrow with a clear reminder. Take a minute to read this short yet helpful article about Advent 3. It comes from a great resource — THE PRAYER BOOK GUIDE TO CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

Prepare the Way (click here)

  • Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
  • Psalm 126
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
  • John 1:6-8, 19-28

John the Baptist’s ministry was vital for developing the climax of God’s revelation. The thread of Hebrew religious history had to be brought together to prepare a public that God’s Anointed could reach.

John was not the light of God’s world. His task was to enable others to see the light. To be such a witness, John had to possess forcefulness, and at the same time to have a humility that rendered him unaware of how forceful he was.

“…a time to be quiet” (a re-posting)

To begin the season of Advent, I share this brief reflection from the Presiding Bishop. May nature’s example, quiet in the ‘waiting time’ of re-creation, be your guide as these four weeks unfold.

Advent Reflection from The Episcopal Church on Vimeo.

“…your place in the family of things.”

It had not been my intention to pick up a theme on this blog as I move toward the end of 2011, but it appears that the breezes of fall have drawn me to a place called “belonging”. The week has been complicated with politics and passion. There is a surge in this country–a surge of energy calling for action from a new type of community. The question is once again being asked, “who is my neighbor? and what I give up in order to make life better for someone else?”

It’s been a long time since such a large group of people discussed the concerns of the greater good. Our society has forged itself into the 21st century with one banner– “It’s all about ME.” People have stood defiantly alone with their “rights” – the ‘right’ to make profit, the right to claim privilege, the right to leave families unsupported as homes are repossessed and jobs drastically cut. This focus on self has thrown us dangerously off-balance. The OCCUPY Movement has highlighted the selfish stance which has so deeply affected this country – the whole world. The people gathering all over the country are meeting one another, again, for the first time. Stories are being shared and heard. Community has been created in this forum, a community energized to reclaim balance and move forward with a renewed sense of truth.

There is no one-way. Finding balance will not be neat and clean. At the core, this is about ‘being known’ – belonging to something larger than self. This is a time for people to find their place in the greater family and, with all sincere imperfection, contribute to the balance we so passionately seek.

WILD GEESE
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clear blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver

Advent is near.

Looking for a creative way to journey through Advent? Christine Sine has a wonderful blog called “Godspace”. The invitation below will take you to this blog offering a variety of ways to experience the wonder of Advent…

An Invitation to Join Us for Advent..