Saturday, December 15, 2012

Prayers......Today in light of the horrendous loss of innocent lives in Newtown, CT I offer my prayers for everyone affected by this act of violence. I know that there is no comfort for those who have lost loved ones especially during this time of year. But dear Father I pray that they will feel the comfort and presence of the Holy Spirit in the midst of their despair. May with passing of much time their tears of remembering their loved ones will be turned into smiles of remembering. Only You, Heavenly Father can do this. Amen

Tomorrow we will light the candle of joy for advent (the waiting for the coming of the baby Jesus as well as waiting for His second coming). I thought about joy and thought that against so much violence, it seemed hard to grasp. But then I remembered that this joy is not the immediate emotion attached to any certain circumstance. Instead it is an eternal joy that "is" because Jesus was born on this earth in humanity and walked among us. "This will be a sign to you; the virgin will give birth to a son and He will be called Immanuel, God with us." So in the midst of our despair we have a Savior who knows deep sorrow. But because He walked this tattered earth in the clothes of tattered humanity, He brought to the earth the eternal joy; that is Jesus was, Jesus is, and Jesus will be. And because of the plan that He was obedient to, we have the hope of a reunion day with all those followers who have gone before us. In that day the Word promises us He will wipe away all tears and take away our pain and in that day we will be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.

Immanuel, God with us, we pray together as your people for hope and comfort for all those who are mourning not only in Newtown but throughout our world during this season of Christmas.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Advent.....Christmas moments. Advent is the waiting for the coming of the Baby Jesus and the waiting for His second coming. I love Advent. Today was the second Sunday of Advent and our church looks more and more like Christmas each Sunday. Today we lit the second candle of Advent which was the candle of peace. Jon preached on John the Baptist and the peace of God "which passes all understanding."

I have found that the peace that the angels spoke of to the shepherds so long ago, "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.....And the angel was accompanied by a multitude of Heavenly Host praising God and saying peace on earth and goodwill to mankind," often comes to me in little moments. Yesterday after participating in "Christmas in Marble," I sat down with a cup of coffee and three homemade chocolate chip cookies. The Christmas music was playing. Suddenly I was aware of a Heavenly Host within me. The taste of the coffee, the warmth of the cup within my hands, the melting of the chocolate chips in my mouth, the sound of the    music, the quiet of the house and there the Holy Spirit filled my being and Christmas was.

We have had very little snow so far this year. We are in desperate need of snow to restore our moisture. Last night it arrived silently. This morning I was up at dawn shoveling snow off the decks. The church gazebo still had the Christmas lights on and the snow was reflecting the light. It was magical. I looked around at the giant spruce trees and saw them wearing their mantle of snow with such grace and dignity. How could anyone doubt the presence of God with such majesty all around. I was filled with the breath of God and Christmas was.

This world is in such strife with so many experiencing the violence of war. It is easy to forget the peace that God offers us. It is a peace that exists within our hearts even in the midst of war. It is that peace that His son gives "not as the world gives," even in the midst of sickness and sorrow. It is there for us in moments to remind us that we are not alone. It comes to me often in little moments that are unexpected. Yet each time the fullness of it brings tears of joy.

As the sun dropped behind the mountains this afternoon and the Spruce tree that Jon put lights on just outside the church came on and its branches held proudly the snow, I breathed in the cold crisp air and Christmas was.....