Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas blog! Merry Christmas!

Blog for Christmas Week

As I sat in the Christmas Eve worship and looked out at the faces worshiping God with glory, praise and love.  I couldn’t help but see and think of the stories of the year: the people that were lost and no longer celebrating next to their families, the people who were going into 2014 without jobs and in general just the life that came to pass in 2013.  It is a very interesting parallel between the bright and awestruck wonder that our colorful Christmas full of beautiful and richly decorated gifts brings and the dull poor manger that the infant Jesus slept in on his first night of humanity.  You see, most of our life is spent in those dull moments – the mundane of the everyday when we are reminded, especially on the news, of just what kind of society we live in.  We live into the ordinary and in the dull.  And yet on Christmas we are reminded that out of the dull and ordinary God’s only Son was born – that out of the dull and ordinary God’s grace was revealed to the world.  That out of the dull and ordinary EXTRA-ORDINARY things can happen with God.

I know I have used that phrase in service before, but I think it is so important for us to remember.  Jesus our Lord and Savior was born on Christmas Day out of the love that God had for humanity and for offering the amazing gift of grace to ALL (not just a few, but all). 

As we reflect on our past year, as we celebrate the birth of our Savior let us not let the moments that seem dull or perhaps gloomy define us but instead remember the moments in which God’s love was felt, in which God’s grace was known, in which God’s mercy was given and in which God’s forgiveness was allowed.  For these are the moments in which our lives move out of the ordinary and into the realm of God’s Kingdom, the extraordinary. 

On Christmas Day an infant was born into a dull and ordinary life and yet from even the beginning hope was brought into the world.  Today we continue to celebrate all of his glory on Christmas.  When many put aside their doubt to spread love.  Where it is more than OK to be Christians.  Where THOUSADNDS pray at the dinner table this ONE time a year.  Where Jesus’ name is mention and the infant baby is remembered.  These are pretty extraordinary things, miracles perhaps. 

The spirit of Christmas is nothing more than the Holy Spirit working within and through us to spread God’s amazing love and grace to ALL.  The Christmas spirit is nothing more than millions of us being more open to the Spirit that works throughout the year to spread God’s love to all we meet. 

Let us remember this week that the birth of Savior, no matter how dull it may seem, brought with it miracles and love the continue to be spread now and every day! Amen.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tis the Season to Hope


Russ and I have done a lot of dreaming in our years together; mostly wishful thinking with a dash of hope.  We realize that God is in lead of our life and in God lives our hope.  Children during this time of year write a letter to Santa asking for their hearts’ desire.  They are hopeful that on Christmas morning they will get some – if not all – the items of their wish list.  This hope is set in the guarantee that is the Santa story.  Santa brings you what you ask for.  Hope can be short lived if as a child Santa forgets your house several years. 

However, Christmas for us as Christians isn’t about asking Santa for what you want and receiving it. Instead it is about the birth of a baby who brought to us something we never knew we needed.  You see the hope that lies in the manger is not the same as the hope children but in Santa.  For this hope comes the knowledge that although we might not get what we ask for, we get what we need. 

NO one in Jesus’ day expected that the Messiah was to be anything like what Jesus was – they expected someone who would retake the earthly thrown of David.  They expected someone who was more military and more of a religious leader like they already knew.  Many couldn’t accept Jesus because he wasn’t what they expected.  BUT he was what the world needed.  The changes he made in the relationship between God and humans was so important – brining divinity and humanity together.  

Hope as a Christian is realizing that in God lives our hope.  Not that we hope in God – we hope in Santa – but that is not how we are to hope in God.  For God is bigger than a Santa story.  God is bigger then giving us all our hearts’ desires…for God is our hope and knows what we really need.  This holiday season as we strive to bring hope to others in new and exciting ways let us remember this.

I asked you this Sunday to think about how you can make hope this holiday for someone – allowing for a this hope to be long lasting and felt in throughout the year.  Perhaps it is in reminding people that God is not Santa but instead in God lives our hope and should we place it there we might not get everything we want but we get everything we need!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Let Us Unite

As the weather decided to bring a holiday storm, I decided to take the train to see my mom instead of driving.  The train from Penn Station (NYC) to FL was around 18 hours and luckily for me and the kids most of those hours were spent sleeping.  During our wait in Penn for our train, L kept on proclaiming that: “it looks like Christmas” and “I’m going to my grandmas for Christmas.”  As I tried to explain over and over that it was Thanksgiving and we were going there for Thanksgiving I could not convince her otherwise because “it looks like Christmas.”  She got it when we got into my mom’s house and it certainly wasn’t decorated for Christmas.  On Saturday we went into a Home Depot with my mom and L said “WOW there is a lot of Christmas in here!”
We are surrounded with Christmas and it seems like earlier and earlier each year.  This advent began by lighting the candle that represents unity.  The unity that Christ being the Prince of Peace and a Barrier Breaker brings to the world. 
As I watch Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies this season, there is one theme that is pretty common throughout the plots – unity.  Often in these movies people are reunited as a Christmas miracle or perhaps people break down their walls that they keep as barriers to the world and finally find love.  Either way, during the Christmas season, we set our hearts up to be open to the miracles that God brings and more importantly we open ourselves up to the true gift that is a Christ child. 
Let us this week reflect on the UNITY that Christ wants to bring to our lives and allow the Prince of Peace to break down the barriers that we as humans build and insist on.
Let us unite in this goal.