Sunday, December 29, 2019



A confluence of Christmas themes:

Top of mind, the Nativity, a tender scene. And today, the lectionary speaks of love - a father’s love, THE Father’s love.

And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
(Galatians 4:6)

You call your Father Abba, translated Daddy. Not “Glorious and Holy Creator of the Universe,” just Daddy, evoking intimacy, family. (From Mark 14:36)

My weekend reading reinforces this:

God does indeed have for us perfect parental love - that unconditional, heart-bursting-out-of-your-chest love, a love that is deeply personal, bottomless, and abundantly flowing. Jesus’ word for “Daddy” is “Abba.”

You are mine. I delight in you. I will restore you. I will not let you go. I will write your name upon my hand. You are mine. What I have begun in you, I will complete. I will be with you in times of trouble. You are mine. I am the Good Shepherd.
(Disciplines, 12/28/19, Ray Buckley)

Amen Abba!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Creed & Conviction | The Incarnation

Our belief about Incarnation, recorded seventeen hundred years ago:

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. (Nicene Creed)

A report from shepherds at the first Christmas:

...the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:10-14)

Nascent theology from the Gospel of John:

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:16)

Holy Spirit,

On this Christmas Eve,
turn our ancient story to belief,
and belief to presence,
and presence to experience
of your glory.

In believing, in knowing,
in holy companionship,
may we live in truth
with grace-filled lives.


Sunday, December 8, 2019

Advent. The Arrival.

Observing, pondering...
ADVENT. The arrival.

God makes an appearance
in the person of Jesus.

Church words...
Begotten. Incarnate.

Hymnal words...
Emmanuel. God with us.

An Old Testament change-up...
Not a pillar of cloud.
God in the flesh!

Physicality is the hallmark.
It inspires a muscular faith.

He comes to us,
as one of us,
walking with us.

So we decorate,
carol, feast and gift.
To commemorate
a personal advent.
The arrival of
Jesus the Christ
in heart and home.

Thanks be to God!

Browse Advent prayers:

Sunday, December 1, 2019


Lord of Light,  

It’s time for the Christmas story! The baby, the star, lambs and magi. But my Advent reading begins with Zechariah. I long for The Light; his Benedictus shoves me to the shadows. He blocks my sentimental Christmas notions. 

This ancient poem is a reality check for my tendency toward naïveté, optimism, even denial. It’s a reminder that we are living in the darkness of sin, in the shadow of death.  

Most days the headlines are like poison. Gun violence and violent posts. In politics, the darkness is palpable. I cast a shadow, too. The Light can be very dim.  

Zechariah lost his voice, dumbstruck in the shadows. Like him I must stand in the dark. I must own it. Only then can I fully appreciate The Light.  

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us, 
to shine on those who dwell in darkness 
and the shadow of death, 
and to guide our feet into the way of peace. 
(Luke 1:78-79)

Now, I can kneel at the manger - in The Light. The canticle’s full message of redemption, salvation, rescue and hope warms me. Something momentous is unfolding with this Christmas story. It’s a game changer. Coping skills for the darkness. The power to resist evil. A call to come alongside the Divine. There’s a measure of peace, and even more is promised. We step out of the shadows into The Light.  

The dawn from on high is breaking upon us.  


Artwork credit

Browse ADVENT prayers.