Yearly Archives: 2018

December 24: Advent Reflections, Part 2: Enjoying Faith, Family and Friends

A Poem for Christmas Eve
Candlelit church services with wiggly children;
Warmth around a fireplace.
Last minute creating and cooking, shopping and wrapping;
Poignant memories of departed loved ones.

Meals served to thousands without a home;
Grace encounters as Christ comes clothed with gratitude.
The kettle bells ring one more day;
Families brave the weather to visit friends in need.

Divine love comes wrapped in swaddling clothes;
A Virgin Mother nurses her Creator and Redeemer.
Longings for peace arise in hearts;
The Prince of Peace comes near.

A Merry Christmas to all!



December 17: Advent Reflections, Part 1: Unlearning and Unconditional Love

Celebrating Advent and enjoying the Christmas Season warrants reflection of the love of God in Jesus and our response to this grace through our love for one another. Sometimes this requires some unlearning. Here are some historical reflections that can help us celebrate wisely.

Mary and Joseph were not poor and homeless. They were artisans and small business owners that needed temporary shelter during the census.

Shepherds were despised by much of society and represented the poor and humble. How wonderful that they are given revelation of God’s glory in the humility of Jesus!

The Magi from the East arrived about 18 months after the birth of Jesus and their caravan probably had 40-50 people. It was a major moment of honor and King Herod, already paranoid and powerful, was deeply threatened.

Interestingly, Christmas was not a universal Holiday in the USA until later in the 19th C. the combination of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s hearty celebrations imported from Germany and the marketing of Sears and Coca-Cola with Santa helped tipped the scales toward joyful gift exchange.

Advent is a season of celebration and reflection as we consider the holy humility of our Lord and the promise of peace in his coming to us. May we welcome him with open hearts and extend open hands to our neighbors.

Thank You, Eugene Peterson

I miss the pen and voice of Pastor Eugene Peterson. Author and minister, creator of The Message Bible and mentor to many, he has served as the conscience of those called as shepherds to beautiful and contentious, gifted and distracted flocks called local churches. He generously gave me two hours of his time during a difficult period of transition early in my pastoral ministry. He helped me value the distinction and integration of pen and pulpit. His writings shaped my attitudes and actions and embodied the special call of the pastor-scholar. Pastor Peterson exemplified humility and humor, reverence for God and respect for people and instilled a deep love of beauty. Pastor, we miss you, but your generosity and wisdom in Christ has found lodging in the hearts of many.

How do we honor his legacy? Three things come to mind:

  • Cultivating a rich inner life of devotion to the Trinity, reflection on Scripture and prayer for others. Who we are when no one is looking will prepare us for wisdom when all eyes peer at us.
  • Integrating intellectual rigor and relational generosity. “Christianity is a religion for adult minds.” (Dorothy Sayers) Celebrating ignorance in the name of spirituality is as foolish as thinking our brains are sufficient for all mysteries.
  • Balancing our work, play and rest in our daily lives. Such rhythms must be learned and renewed as our laziness of workaholism wants to take over.

Thank you, Pastor Peterson!