Thursday, December 25, 2014

A child is born. A great light.

In a world where the forces of violence, ignorance and despair can make it difficult to perceive God's presence, we claim Isaiah's words as we welcome Christ our Light...

That's from a Christmas Eve devotion on Isaiah 9:2-7 by Jan Richardson in Disciplines 2014, the inspiration for this prayer. The morning headlines and evening news routinely feature the "forces of violence, ignorance and despair." Things were no different for the ancient prophets I read during Advent. Isaiah, Hosea and Zephaniah railed against those same forces, but they shared a long term vision for restoration. They saw a Light. The prophets (and Rev. Richardson) remind us to hold tightly to that vision, to that Light, to our hope in Jesus Christ.

Kind Father,

We reach back in time, three millennia, and give ear to Isaiah's prophecy:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you... 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. (from Isaiah 9:2-7)

That was a word of hope and freedom to a defeated, captive people. Today, we claim those verses for ourselves.

Hope for health, relationships, careers...our grandson! Freedom from our flaws - too many to list - and the difficulties we face.

And there's heavy duty hope...for eternal life, Jesus' reign and a restored creation.

Lord Christ, we too often slip into the darkness. Let us see your great light! And we will rejoice on this Christmas Day! Illuminate our lives with your Spirit, with your presence. Amen.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


I am all about the Nativity this year. The Fisher-Price crèche is your hint...

I hesitate to grade my blessings, but the highlight of 2014 has been the birth of our first grandchild. Much like your child's wedding, your kids having kids brings a sense of continuity to this family endeavor of the past four decades. 

Four generations. Great Granddad at 93, the new father & son,
with Granddad.

Only four months into Grandparenting, I do have a few observations about this special role:

You come to it with some experience and confidence (that you didn't have with your own kids), so you are more relaxed...and joyful!

And you don't have 24/7 responsibility for the baby, so you are more relaxed...and joyful!

Finally, there's the opportunity for a do-over. Maybe I can close some gaps from the first parenting go-round, ie, improve the quality of "quality time" and excise the conditions that so often persist in "unconditional love." That is my prayer for this new relationship.

Also, I claim these Biblical promises. Our children are included in the spiritual purposes of God. They are holy. (1st Corinthians 7:14) And I find comfort in the very last verse of the Old Testament where God's prophetic, healing voice will ultimately turn the hearts of parents and children toward one another. (Malachi 4:6)

Finally, from our family's nativity to The Nativity, I invite you to scroll through my prayers for Advent and Christmastime...with my sincere wishes for a meaningful Advent and a Merry Christmas!