Wednesday, December 28, 2011
The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here is all aright.)
The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast,
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)
The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world's desire.)
The Christ-child stood at Mary's knee,
His hair was like a crown.
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down.
Friday, December 23, 2011
"So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun" - John Lennon.
Thus begins the song of John Lennon. It is somewhat melancholy, and Christmas really can be melancholy if its sole purpose is taking stock of what we have done and left undone. Perhaps, this is one reason gift giving can become so frantic, so unrealistic.
Now, please understand - I believe that stock-taking is something that we need to do regularly. Thomas Cranmer, framer of our Book of Common Prayer, understood that we need confession and to hear the Declaration of Forgiveness. But, we make a mistake if Christmas is about us and our failings.
No, Christmas is about what God has and is doing. Christmas is, in part, God's response to our failings and, so it is a time of JOY. God has unilaterally declared peace with us. "The war is over" as Lennon sang. While Lennon was most likely referring to the Vietnam War, he spoke more truth than he knew. For, in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God has declared "The war is over." Remember the angels' song "Glory to God in the highest and Peace to his people on earth. " God has declared peace with us. This Christmas, why don't you and I declare peace with those with whom we have been at odds - family members, neighbors nearby and those who may be far away. May you have a Holy and Blessed Christmas and remember "The war is over."
Friday, December 2, 2011
Thank goodness Advent is here. Not only is it the start of a brand new year but it has built-in restfulness if we will let ourselves take hold of it. "Patient Waiting" is plenty hard to do, but it is what we are called to in Advent. We 21st c. folks in the West do NOT like to wait. We seem to want instant everything, but then, when we have gained that which we desired to have instantly, we often find ourselves feeling dissatisfied. So many of the best things in life take time to come into being: a new baby, a work of art, a disciplined prayer life, a course of study, and intimate relationship whether with others or with God. We most often see waiting as wasted time, but waiting is never wasted when it is purposeful. Below are two Advent videos - each with a very differnt feel. The first, a seeming contradiction to all that I have just written above, is a super speedy introduction to Advent. The second is a much slower, more meditative approah. I hope you are blessed by both.