Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Loving Arms of God


Nativity of Our Lord - Christmas Day
Hebrews 1:1-12 (NRSV)

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
For to which of the angels did God ever say,
"You are my Son;
today I have begotten you"?
Or again,
"I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son"?
And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
"Let all God's angels worship him."
Of the angels he says,
"He makes his angels winds,
and his servants flames of fire."
But of the Son he says,
"Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions."
"In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like clothing;
like a cloak you will roll them up,
and like clothing they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will never end."


Merry CHRISTmas! May the love, joy, peace, and hope of CHRISTmas overtake you, today and always...No matter how you may feel on this day, please know that God loves you so much that God gave Jesus into the world, to die on the cross, to save us from our sins, and gift us with eternal life.

For some, this is a joyous day; praise God! For some, this is a sad or mournful day; still, praise God!

We are not alone. No matter how we feel, we are not alone. Immanuel, God with us, attends to our every feeling, concern, and need. He laughs with us, cries with us, celebrates with us, and laments with us...

Let your heart feel the loving arms of God wrapped around you on this day and believe that you are the beloved of God, treasured beyond your imaginings, and adored beyond your wildest dreams.



Thank you God for the most precious gift of Jesus Christ, who is the Light and Salvation of the whole world! Amen...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Love Come Down


Nativity of Our Lord - Christmas Eve
Titus 2:11-14 (NRSV)

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.


On this CHRISTmas Eve, my prayer for all of us is that we would intimately experience the love, joy, hope, and peace that comes with knowing that "the grace of God has appeared."

Because of Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and promise to come again, we are able to live into the "blessed hope" of knowing the glory of our "great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Jesus is Love come down, wrapped in flesh, "who gave himself for us that [we might] be redeemed."


God's love, salvation, and redemption is the best CHRISTmas gift of all.

On tomorrow, I want to invite you to wake up, sing "Happy Birthday to Jesus," eat some birthday cake, read the CHRISTmas story (e.g., Luke 2, Matthew 1), and rejoice with your family in prayer. The tree will be there. The presents will be enjoyed. But, please remember, that tomrrow is JESUS' BIRTHDAY!

Let's have a party for our Lord and Savior and give thanks to God for the good news that Jesus came down from heaven, to redeem us from our sin, and open the door to our eternal lives in Heaven!



Oh God, you are great and greatly to be praised! Thank you for Jesus, who is the greatest CHRISTmas gift of all! Please help me to celebrate your birthday with great joy. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Be At Peace


4th Sunday in Advent
Micah 5:2-5a (NRSV)

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return
to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth;
and he shall be the one of peace.


Sometimes we feel so very small. The world can seem so big and scary and our challenges too large to overcome. It is at times like these that the Holy Spirit reminds us that God can do big things with little people.

When we are willing to humble ourselves and admit that we need God for every moment of our lives, then we will find that God is always available to lead us on the path of peace.

No matter what may be raging on the outside of our lives, we can be peaceful on the inside, because of the precious gift of Jesus Christ and the gentle care of the Holy Spirit.

When we feel overwhelmed, we can slow down, take some deep breaths and take advantage of the Power of God that is within us. This Power leads us into the love, joy, hope, and peace of the CHRISTmas season 365 days per year.

As we approach CHRISTmas Day this week, may the peace of God be yours. You are a beloved child of God. You have been declared very good. You are cherished, valued, protected, and cared for. You are seen and still adored. You are unconditionally loved now and forever.

Breathe, Child of God... And be at peace. May CHRISTmas joy be yours...Amen.


Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. With your abundant grace and might, free us from the sin that binds us, that we may receive you in joy and serve you always, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Blessed One


Luke 13:31-35 (NRSV)

At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you." He said to them, "Go and tell that fox for me, 'Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.' Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'"


Today is Saturday! On this day "good news" comes to us as a psalm from my heart. Thanks for reading, sharing, and being good news!

Know you not who I am
What I am doing
What I will do?
Not afraid of you
Can't touch me
Can't block me
Can't stop me
Headed to Jerusalem
None can take my life
Only I can lay it down
And I will do so
for my friends
Amidst derision
Amidst tears
and Pain
I will lay down my life
To secure your future
To make provision for your tomorrows
To open heaven's door...


Blessed is the one who comes in the Name of the Lord!

Blessed baby!
Blessed teacher!
Blessed healer!
Blessed savior!
Blessed King!


Trumpet sound
Clouds roll back
Winds blow
Caught up in the air
To meet the...

Blessed One
Prepare the way of the Lord

CHRIST(mas) is coming!


Lord, help my heart to declare, "Blessed is the one who comes in the Name of the Lord!" Amen.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sing a New Song!


Isaiah 42:10-18 (NRSV)

Sing to the LORD a new song,
his praise from the end of the earth!
Let the sea roar and all that fills it,
the coastlands and their inhabitants.
Let the desert and its towns lift up their voice,
the villages that Kedar inhabits;
let the inhabitants of Sela sing for joy,
let them shout from the tops of the mountains.
Let them give glory to the LORD,
and declare his praise in the coastlands.
The LORD goes forth like a soldier,
like a warrior he stirs up his fury;
he cries out, he shouts aloud,
he shows himself mighty against his foes.
For a long time I have held my peace,
I have kept still and restrained myself;
now I will cry out like a woman in labor,
I will gasp and pant.
I will lay waste mountains and hills,
and dry up all their herbage;
I will turn the rivers into islands,
and dry up the pools.
I will lead the blind
by a road they do not know,
by paths they have not known
I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I will do,
and I will not forsake them.
They shall be turned back and utterly put to shame -—
those who trust in carved images,
who say to cast images,
"You are our gods."
Listen, you that are deaf;
and you that are blind, look up and see!


Today I realized that it is five days until CHRISTmas and I have done NO CHRISTmas shopping for my family!

Just as my chest tightened and I began to panic, I heard the Holy Spirit remind me that Jesus is the reason for the season.

Instead of panicing about not having participated (yet) in a commercialized version of CHRISTmas, I gave myself permission to "Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the end of the earth!" Instead of despairing that I hadn't made my pilgrimage to the local Walmart, I chose to "give glory to the LORD, and declare his praise."

I know that I will find a way to get my shopping done for my children. But, that is not what is ultimately important.

What is of paramount importantance is that may family has been making time to gather around the table at night to read scripture, sing carols, and pray for all of God's children to experience the inbreaking of God's Kingdom of Love.

What is important is that on CHRISTmas morn, my family will have a birthday cake for Jesus and we will sing "Happy Birthday!" with glad tidings in our hearts as we celebrate the coming of our King.

And what is important is that Jesus was born, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords! Won't you share this good news with all who will hear it!

MERRY CHRISTmas! You are loved!


Holy God, I declare your praise! You are awesome and no one compares to you! Thank you for the blessed gift of Jesus during this holy day season. In His Name, Amen.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Law of Love


Jeremiah 31:31-34 (NRSV)

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt -- a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, "Know the Lord," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.


"Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me, for the Bible tells me so!" (Warner/Bradbury)

This childhood chorus explains the new covenant that God now has with us, God's people. God's Law of Love is written upon our hearts in the life and legacy of Jesus Christ.

Because of God's unconditional love and amazing grace, Love came down, in order that God could forgive our iniquity and remember our sin no more.

It is the most precious gift of all that we are called the children of God!

The next time you are tempted to get down on yourself, or to imagine that you're worthless, remember that you are a child of the King. The next time you're tempted to give up on life, remember that Jesus thought your life was worth dying for.

As we fall more and more in love with Jesus every day, the Law of Love, infuses what we say, do, and think. As we get to know more and more of God, we have a greater desire to immulate the example of Jesus.

Today, let us give thanks to God that we know--and are known--by the King of Glory!


Loving God, help me to be loving as I share the good news that we are all your children. Amen.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Upside Down CHRISTmas!


Isaiah 11:1-9 (NRSV)

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.


Today's scripture reminds me that Jesus turns everything upside down.

This reminds me of the Advent Conspiracy that many churches are engaging in around the world. Advent Conspiracy reminds us to worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all! (www.adventconspiracy.org)

When we turn Christmas upside down we can say things like...

Because the Lord has come...
  • I worship with a heart of gladness, rather than worry about how I'm going to pay the bills
  • I spend less at the mall, rather than repay maxed out credit cards bills all next year
  • I give more of what I do have so that all of God's children can have food, water, clothes, shelter,   health care, education, peace, and security.
  • I love all, because God first loved us giving The Son to live, die, and live again that I might inherit eternal life.
Won't this kind of CHRISTmas Spirit be counter cultural and contagious? Won't this offer an alternative to the commercialized CHRISTmas that many of our friends and neighbors are suffering through? Won't our offer of CHRISTmas love, joy, hope, and peace be a great blessing to the whole world!

Today, I want to challenge us to do one thing to turn CHRISTmas upside down. You'll be glad you did!


Oh God! Please give me the wisdom to turn CHRISTmas upside down for myself and my family. I want to celebrate your birthday in a way that brings you joy. In Your Name, Amen.