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This past Sunday, the Christian Education Commission put together an Intergenerational Activity to help explore our Advent theme a bit more. Each of the four basement classrooms was themed after one of the four women named in Jesus’ genealogy to match our worship series.  Participants had the opportunity to consider what they are longing for like Tamar, what helps them make hard choices like Rahab, how they can honor their chosen families like Ruth, and what they can do to use their power for good like Bathsheba. 

Some of the rooms were a bit more active and crafty while others were...

Expecting.  Hope.  Waiting. 

These are words and spiritual orientations that come with the Advent season.  They are each, on the surface, future oriented, looking to the time, not long off, when Christ will be born.  Or when we get to open the presents.  Or when we round the bend of the winter solstice and start to turn again, ever so slightly at first, toward the growing light.    

Looking toward the joyful coming of these times and marking the receding gap between now and then is one of the ways of living within this season, or any season.

And…

I’m not sure...

If we could design a holiday that would double as the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season, I think it should be a holiday focused on gratitude.  Practicing gratitude for the gift of being alive, for there being something rather than nothing, for wakefulness and breathing, for warm fires and good food – this can change one’s entire outlook on the world.  Gratitude flowers into contentment.  And if we’re content, we need very little else to make us happy.  If we’re grateful and content, we’re much less susceptible to advertisements trying to convince us we need their product to gain...

Advent came a bit early this year.  This past Sunday Mark and I shared the sermon to preview our Advent theme and give some commentary on the foundational text for the season – The Gospel of Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus.  It includes five women, each with outsider status.  This coming Sunday will be our annual Gratitude Sunday before Thanksgiving, then we’ll step into the official beginning of Advent the following Sunday, November 27. 

This Advent we’re drawing from a new book by Mennonite pastor Joanna Harader (Peace Mennonite Church, Lawrence, Kansas), Expecting Emmanuel:...

Yesterday our church building again served as a polling location and was full of our Clintonville neighbors.  Really full.  When I arrived in the morning the voting area in the fellowship hall was overflowing into a line that came down the stairs into the foyer and curved back to the doors of the sanctuary.  That’s the shortest the line was all day.  Staff and poll workers couldn’t remember it ever being busier.  When I left at 5:00, the line was out the door, curving into the parking lot, extending all the way to the rain barrel by the alley, about a two-hour wait.

At home I...

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