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    Releasing Expectations

    Snowflakes fall silently from the sky as bright-eyed little faces peer out frost-covered windows. Best friends gather around a candlelit table, dishes clanking, laughter wafting in the air. Family members from far away places knock at your door, excitement erupting into hugs and hellos the moment you welcome them inside. An ideal Christmas is easy to imagine. But it’s hard to live out. Despite what commercials portray and Facebook depicts, life’s celebrations are often far from perfect. Our children misbehave at the worst possible moment. Our plans get altered at the last minute. Our family’s disfunction erupts at the table. If there’s anything I’m learning this Christmas season, it’s to…

  • Impact

    Mary, the birth mother of Jesus

    Luke 1:46–55 forms part of the optional lectionary readings for the third Sunday of Advent, which is December 13th. The focus is on Mary, the mother of Jesus. A short time after Gabriel departed, Mary made preparations and quickly traveled from Nazareth to an unnamed town in the hill country of Judea. This is where Elizabeth and Zechariah lived (Luke 1:39). Mary possibly journeyed 50 to 70 miles by herself, which would have been a considerable distance for a single, pregnant teenager in her day. Perhaps Mary went to stay with Elizabeth to be secluded from inquisitive friends and neighbors. The privacy would give Mary an opportunity to reflect on…

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    The Angels Of Advent

    You can’t consider Advent without acknowledging the role of angels. Intricately woven into the story of the birth of Christ are these created beings – often pictured by the artists of old with wings, flowing robes and long hair. Consider three of the prominent roles angels played. Preparation was put in place to ready the participants in the nativity story. Can you imagine the orchestration behind the scenes in heaven within the Trinity and with the angels as the drama began to unfold? God was getting His message out – revealing His heart, His plan to the ones He had chosen for this certain invasion into earth. In the exact,…

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    Unhurried

    The house sits quiet and still. The presents lay in the corner, waiting to be set in their places and hung on their hangers. The tree stands dim, hoping to be lit a few more times before it’s placed back into its box. There’s something about the pregnant pause between opening Christmas presents and ringing in the New Year that beckons us to slow down. There are no more gifts to purchase. There are no more hams to glaze or pies to bake. There’s no rush to pull down the tinsel or rearrange the house. This last week of December calls us to reflect on the way we lived in…