Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

 

The Christmas season often brings home to me how much larger Truth is than what I can carry or contain….

 

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Emily Dickinson

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant -
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind -

 

 

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, generous inside and out, true from start to finish. (John 1:14, The Message)

 

 

One of my favorite Christmas songs isn’t a hymn – or likely even a song that most people know. It’s Come Darkness, Come Light by Mary Chapin Carpenter.

 

John Wesley talked about assurance – that sense of peace that comes when we realize the depth of God’s love for us. That’s a concept that I sometimes struggle with. I know it in my head – I’m just not always able to consistently connect it to my heart. But this song – poetry really – enables me to connect head and heart. It helps me realize just how wide and how deep God’s love for me really is. It helps me realize that no matter what state I may find myself – broken or whole, doubting or sure – I can come to the door of the stable…

 

Come Darkness, Come Light

Mary Chapin Carpenter

 

Come darkness, come light
Come new star, shining bright
Come love to this world tonight
Alleluia

Come broken, come whole
Come wounded in your soul
Come anyway that you know
Alleluia

There’s a humble stable and a light within
There’s an angel hovering
and three wise men
Today a baby’s born in Bethlehem
Alleluia

Come doubting, come sure
Come fearful to this door
Come see what love is for
Alleluia

Come running, come walking slow
Come weary on your broken road
Come see Him and shed your heavy load
Alleluia

There’s a humble stable and a light within
There’s an angel hovering
and three wise men
Today a Baby’s born in Bethlehem
Alleluia

Come darkness, come light
Come new star shining bright
Come love to this world tonight
Alleluia

 

This Christmas I’m on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth, asking him to strengthen you (and me) by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength. It’s my desire that Christ will live in you (and in me) as we open the door and invite him in. And I’m asking him that with both feet planted firmly on love, we’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. (adapted from Ephesians 3:14-19, The Message)

 

Peace, love and joy to you this Christmas.

 

 

 

Maxie’s Weekly Word

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013 | By Maxie Dunnam
Filed in: Maxie Dunnam, Maxie's Weekly Word

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THE BEGINNING AND THE END

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” ….When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said “Do not be afraid.  I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever” Rev. 1:8, 17-18).

As we live in the aftermath of Christmas and close this year, we remember that JESUS is THE BEGINNING OF LIFE THE END OF HISTORY

But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, kept alert; for you do not know when the time will come (Mark 13:32-33).

The New Testament faith carries forward the assertions of Christ’s present sovereignty to the further assertion that Christ will come again. He came once in humiliation, he will come again in glory. He came once to initiate, he will come again to consummate. When he came in the flesh, he came to share man’s life to suffer with him, and to die. But when he comes again, he will come as risen and ascended Lord and he will come to bring the human story to its end.

The Apostles Creed, which Christians around the world affirm regularly in worship, says that Christ is going to judge the living and the dead. “I have the keys to death and hades,” he said. Christ’s judgment will determine whether we live or die eternality.

The positive aspect of the fact of judgment is that God’s love and faithfulness will be validated with the ‘second coming’ of Jesus.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God (2 Cor. 1:20 NIV).

Christ’s kingdom is going to be established, and there’s going to be a new heaven and a new earth. The lamb will lay down with the lion, shalom will be the spirit of that kingdom and men will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks, and there will be no more war. Neither will there be any more death or sorrow or pain or separation. All will be wholeness of life for Jesus, the healer and redeemer will reign. His kingdom will know no end, and his joy and our joy will be complete.

HOW THEN SHALL WE LIVE? We’re called to be at our task as faithful servants of Jesus Christ who are seeking to live out his will in the world, to be a part of the work of his kingdom, and to continue to pray as he taught us to pray : Thy kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

 

Maxie’s Weekly Word

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012 | By Maxie Dunnam
Filed in: Maxie Dunnam, Maxie's Weekly Word

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OUR REAL AND DESTINED ETERNITY

The story begins by describing a man who doesn’t believe in the Incarnation, and thinks Christmas is “a lot of humbug.” One Christmas Eve his wife and children go to the midnight worship at church, but he stays at home. It begins to snow, and he settles into a chair by the fire to read. After several minutes, he is startled by a thud at the window, then another thud, and another. Thinking someone must be throwing snowballs at the window, he goes outside to investigate. He sees a flock of birds huddled in the snow. Attempting to find shelter from the storm, they had tried to fly through the window.

He wonders how he can help the birds, and then he remembers the barn. It would make a good shelter. He puts on warm clothes and heads for the barn. He turns on the lights, but the birds don’t budge. Then he sprinkles a path of crumbs leading into the barn, but the birds don’t notice. Finally he tries shooing them into the barn, but they scatter in every direction except the barn.

Louis Cassels, who tells the story, continues, “They find me a strange and terrifying creature,” he said to himself,” and I can’t seem to think of any way to let them know they can trust me. ”lf only I could be a bird myself for a few minutes, perhaps I could lead them to safety.”

Just at that moment the church bells began to ring. He stood silent for a while, listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. Then he sank to his knees in the snow. “Now l do understand,” he whispered, ”Now I see why You had to do it. ” (Louis Cassels, Christian Primer; New York: Doubleday, l964, pp 18—20)

 

 

What’s going on around your cubicle?

 

 

What's your next step?

Found this on PostSecret.com on Christmas Day. What’s happening in the lives of the people around you these days? Do you know? Do you care? If you care, do they know it?

What’s your next step?

God’s dream…

 

As the hopeful anticipation and spiritual preparation of Advent gives way to the joyous celebration of Christmas, I pray that you might experience the depth of God’s love for you. It’s a love that boggles the human mind, coming as it did embodied in a tiny baby boy, born into poverty and rejected by those he came to love. It’s a love that will always be larger than we can comprehend with our limited hearts and lives, but a love so radically unconditional, so dramatically forgiving, so magnificently gracious, righteous, pure and just, that it’s been transforming lives for centuries.

One of my favorite Christmas cards reads, “The Dream of God shall be carried in strong hearts and gentle hands.” Even as I work through this strange medium of the internet, I hope that I’ve been able in some way to be either a strong heart or a gentle hand in bearing an admittedly partial rendering of God’s dream to you. But more importantly, I pray that you will be inspired to be that strong heart and gentle hand, bearing God’s dream wherever you find yourself.

Kim Reisman in South Africa

Kim Reisman

A joyous Christmas to each of you…

Peace,

Kim

Food for thought…

Christmas List

food for thought...

 

From PostSecret.com

 

Who are you noticing this holiday season? Who are you NOT noticing? What’s your next step?

I want it so bad…

One of my favorite bands is the Gourds.  They were in Lafayette a few weeks ago & John & I went as we usually do when they pass through. They’ve got a new album out right now call Old Mad Joy. You can check it out on ITunes.  One song in particular struck me given that we’re smack in the middle of one of the most commercialized, co-opted by capitalists, holy seasons of the Christian faith – those days leading up to Christmas. It’s called I Want It So Bad & it’s a great swing type tune that John & I immediately had to dance to…

The first time I gazed upon that glorious thing/It made we wanna dance and delightfully sing/I whirled and twirled and laughed til I cried,

I love this song! I’ve been driving around delightfully singing every since I bought the CD. But there’s a little more to it…

I was so ecstatic until I realized/It was not mine nor would it ever be./Then a storm of emotion swept over me/My heart was broken, my hands were tied,/my one desire had been denied.

I want everything...

This time of year we’re bombarded with images of all the things we think we need but probably just want. And often we want those things really bad – that think-we-can’t-live-without-it kind of bad that can end up really messing with our heads…

Maybe it’s a dream, maybe it’s a thing,/Maybe it’s something that you’ve never seen/Maybe it’s happiness, maybe it’s love/Or maybe yer waiting for something to come from above

Maybe it makes you feel like you never succeed,/Maybe it makes you feel like you never get what you need./It’s a feeling that comes from within,/It’s universal between women and men

We just wanna be loved, we just wanna be whole,/We just wanna get back what we feel like was stole/From us as a child when we got schooled./Man that wasn’t fair, that wasn’t cool…

I’m still singing to my CD because this is a really catchy tune & I love to delightfully sing in the car. But here’s the kicker…

There ain’t no rule, there ain’t no law/That says we ever get what we want at all/We all know life ain’t fair/But we forget it when desire becomes despair…

Oops…got me…

I want this… no, I need this… wait, I deserve this. But I can’t have it….. Now what?

“Blue Christmas”

Blue Christmas

Blue Christmas

While I was serving as bishop in the Dakotas Conference, I found many small towns where the local funeral home teamed up with the local United Methodist Church (or sometimes with several churches) to offer a “Blue Christmas” service on December 20th  which is the longest night of the year.  They often called this a “Blue Christmas” and even played the Elvis Presley song (“It will be a blue Christmas without you”), and the gathering was for families who had lost a loved one in the past year.  The idea was simple but very caring:  those in grief need a time to name that grief (and the longest, darkest night the year seemed appropriate) in order to them to heal and be ready to celebrate Christmas.

Having lost several loved ones in the past three years, I know how hard it is to have that first Christmas without a loved one.  So those “Blue Christmas” services were a wonderful way to help persons in grief to deal with their grief – and then to start moving on with life.

If you are someone who has lost a loved one this past year, please know that God’s healing love is for you.  Christ came especially for those who are poor, poor in spirit, heart-broken, and in need of healing.

If you know someone who has lost a love one this past year, maybe now is the time to call them or drop by and see them, to say, “I remember your loved  one, too, and I know that this Christmas may be tough for you.  But you are not alone – you are in my thoughts and prayers.”

If your local church has never considered offering a “Blue Christmas” or a “Longest Night Service” for persons in grief, maybe it is not too late to offer it this year.

And most of all, every one of us can pause and give thanks for the loved ones in our lives – those who have passed on, and those who are still with us – and to ask God’s blessings on our loved ones.

Mike Coyner

Bishop Michael Coyner

Christmas is not all fun and games.  Sometimes it is a sad time for those who are grieving.  Sometimes it is a lonely time for those who are left behind.  And always it is a time to offer love and peace to our loved ones.

Have a blessed Christmas – even if it is a Blue Christmas for you this year.

from Bishop Michael J. Coyner

Kim Reisman in South Africa

Kim Reisman

Kim Reisman

Here’s a great prayer from the Iona Community:

Eternal God, in the long ago days when the earth was above the clouds, and disease was caused by demons, your son was born to lighten all our darknesses.

We now, after the enlightenment, are in bondage to different limitations. We doubt what we cannot prove; we ignore what we cannot see, and finding little room for faith, we must confess, we suspect angels and disbelieve good news.

We admit ourselves to be both infected and affected by the spirit of our times. Behind talk of world peace, we hear the machinery of war; beneath talk of global equity we detect the posturing of the powerful; beside talk of your church being renewed, we recognize the bondage to failed patterns of the past. Rather than embrace the light, we become fascinated by darkness, and must confess, we suspect angels and disbelieve good news.

Ah, God, who will save us? Our cynicism is the fruit of our experience, not the key to the future. Our suspiciousness helps us to smell the rat, never to recognize the dove. Our perfect analysis may describe the mountain, but is helpless to move it. It is with little pride we must confess, we suspect angels and disbelieve good news.

As Christmas approaches, give us a share of that divine naiveté enjoyed by Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary and Joseph, and unnamed country folk, who encountered angels and believed the Good News and recognized Christ among them. Amen. (1997 Wild Goose Resource Group, Iona Community. GIA Publications, Inc.)

Infected and affected by the spirit of our times. Caught up in the analysis of the mountain, and missing the power to move it…Yikes. Sounds familiar…

tired of smelling rats...ready to see doves

But I want the power to move the mountain. I’m tired of smelling rats and ready to see doves. But the question is what am I going to do to make it so? More importantly, what am I going to do in order that it might be so, not just for me, but for others? What are we all going to do so that others might encounter angels and believe good news?