- "Advent Reflection on Mary" (I used to dismiss Mary, never seeing the wealth of her godly example... until I started raising my own girls... Now she (and Ruth, of course) are to of my favorite people in the Bible to return to and to study, again and again.)
"...I hear echoes of the King James Version, 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.' Be it unto me according to thy word! What a stirring response! This reminds me of the prayer Mary's son would utter one day in the Garden of Gethsemane, when faced with the choice to give up his life or not: 'Not my will, but yours, be done.'"
- "Emmanuel" (I love thinking about this truth: God with Us!)
"If our planet is so tiny, what does that make each of us – mere specks on the surface of a speck? Our bodies, so substantial to us – our lives, so monumental to us – are truthfully smaller than dust; smaller than an atom; smaller than a neutrino. We are, in the broadest sense, 'infinitesimal,' a word that was coined to describe 'objects so small that there is no way to see them or to measure them.' A word that bears a dismaying resemblance to 'insignificant.'
And yet – there is another word, and it changes everything.
It changes everything about us, about our planet, about the universe, about all the millions of scientific wonders that we can goggle at with our most intelligently designed technology. It’s the most astonishing word in any language.
God with us. Which is to say, God with me."
- "One Small Seed: When Wise Men Decide to Do Advent" (The key words? Decide... Do... Advent... It is always a choice... followed by an action... to point to Him, His past coming, His present tabernacling and His future return.)
"And this Gospel? It doesn’t come wrapped in twinkling lights and satin bows; it comes straight into our pitchest black. The Gospel of Christ, it’s a messy, bloody thing and this is how God was born, bloody and bruised, and that’s how God chose to die, bloody and beaten. And our God, He knows the comings and goings of our bloody battles, and this is exactly where He meets us. The Gospel is good news in the eye of the worst news.
Advent is the believing this, and this is how Christ comes:
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him…” Isaiah 11: 1-2
Out of the truncated and amputated, out of the broken off and impossible, a shoot sprouts. God buds from the impossible. Our Savior comes as a sprout from a stump. Our salvation comes by way of the small, breaking through the dead ends. Who in the world lives slow enough, wise enough, mindful enough, not to miss the slender shoot? Who sees the sacred small ways of the infinite God?"
- "Simple Christmas" (Yep... Christmas is celebrated with greater simplicity in most parts of the world not consumed with consumerism, mauraded by materialism and as the author of this article so vividly pictures "scorched by commerialism"... Here, the emphasis is on that babe born in a manger the the definition of family is anyone else who strives to follow that Holy Child.)
“For centuries Christmas was celebrated by feeding the hungry, providing clothes to the poor and giving special but simple gifts. Even in early America, if gifts were given, it usually was restricted to small children, pastors, missionaries and missionary converts. On the whole, the celebration remained simple in America until prosperity led to commercialism, and materialism began to take the upper hand. Gift indulgence seems to have displaced the centuries-old Christmas tradition of providing for the poor and needy.”
- "The Real War on Christmas... by Fox News" (Whether or not you agree with this guy and his political leanings... to me, the implied challenge is real and very convicting. There are ways each one of us finds to remove or minimize the focus on Christ during this Christmas season... and each time, whomever does it or however it is done, it declares war on God's priorities... It is sin.)'
"Fox News’ 'war' is designed to criticize the 'secularization' of our culture wrought by atheists, agnostics, liberals, leftists, progressives, and separation of church and state zealots— i.e. Democrats. This irreligious coalition force is allegedly waging a strategic offensive on Christmas, trying to banish the sacred symbols of the season, denying our religious heritage, and even undermining the spiritual rubrics upon which our great nation is built."