Skip to main content

a hope-filled christmas

i updated my facebook status yesterday to wish all my facebook friends a blessed christmas. i wrote this: i'm wishing you a richly blessed christmas, the kind where hope gets born again in you.
a friend of mine commented on that status: sure beats the other kind.
i don't know if that was a genuine or sarcastic comment, but it certainly got me thinking about the variety of ways to experience christmas: as a happy holiday, a nice break from routine, a celebration of 'stuff,' a wonderful time to be with family, a time to relive certain meaningful traditions, and so on. there are so many good things about christmas that are peripheral. i mean, they are still good things, but they aren't the main point.
the main point, of course, is that a bloody screaming little baby, who was God with skin on, was born one day, and that forever changed the course of history. the main point, of course, is that because of that birth there amongs the animals, the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.
but its easy to miss that point. it is easy to lose sight of the light in the glare of an electric christmas. it is easy to miss the gift of that loud newborn in the midst of a mess of gifts we'll give this week. it is easy to miss the hope that these days are supposed to be about in the midst of the bad news of economy and war and corruption and status quo.
and so, i agree with my facebook friend: a christmas where hope is somehow born again in me sure beats the kind of christmas that is mostly marked by food and gifts and traditions. those are all really wonderful things. but i wish for people something more, something more threatening and comforting all at the same time, something that just might make a difference come january and beyond: hope.
may you remember the frailty and fragility and wild insanity of a tiny little birth so long ago: a flicker in the darkness that is a light that will never go out. may Christ be born again in the retelling of the story, in the opening of your heart, and in your ongoing love in the weeks and months ahead. merry christmas, everyone. i hope it is the hope kind.


Popular posts from this blog


i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: 
It has been a season of terrible tragedy.  And I have noticed in the news a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.  It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net necessarily in a good way.  People are understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public statement.  The truth is that, for those of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer.  We are called to do justice where we can, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all.  But let us be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  We are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…

a divided tree

there is a tree in my back yard.  i'm pretty sure it's an oak tree.  at least that's what i think Shannon told me.  i don't know my oaks from my maples, my elms from my locusts.  to me, it's a tree: a corinthian column bursting up into life and glory.  full of sap and pulp and rings and bugs and cells pulsing with water and always reaching for something.  it is full of rhythm, reach and flourish then fall and die, and repeat. 

this particular tree, though, isn't of one mind. 

half of it's rusted orange leaves have given up their grip and surrendered -gracefully or not - to the pull of gravity and the threat of winter.  the north side of this inauspicious oak is just about bare naked, all sticks and straight lines, a skeleton of itself.  but the side that looks south is stubbornly resisting change.  no longer green, the leaves have compromised their summer vibrancy, but they are clearly not ready to concede death just yet. 

i feel like i can relate to this …

thankful right now

"if the only prayer you ever say in your life is 'thank you,' it will be enough." -Meister Eckhart

"thanksgiving is inseparable from prayer." -John Wesley

i've been thinking about gratitude quite a bit this week, and how to foster a thankful spirit in the midst of the barrage of bad news that for me is punctuated by yet another "breaking news" notification on my phone, interrupting the busyness of my day to rudely remind me that the world's brokenness knows nothing of limits or boundaries, not to mention my schedule or sanity.  still, the bad news keeps coming. 

i just scrolled through my most recent notifications just from the last few days and they contain phrases like "crimes against humanity," "57 million users hacked, but not reported," "alleged pattern of sexual abuse," and "extremely disturbing," just to name a few.  how am i supposed to be present at a staff meeting when my phone is buzzing …