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Happy Solstice.  It’s the shortest day and longest night of the year.  It’s the first day of winter and it sounds like winter will soon be felt. 

It’s a good time for mammals to give thanks for fur, and those who have lost their fur to find a warm blanket, or a fireplace, or an HVAC register.  It’s a good time to be inside not just a den or a home, but inside one’s thoughts.  To enter the rich darkness of interiority, to sit in the mystery of self and other. 

There is a natural rhythm to all this.

We don’t know what time of year Jesus was actually born, but it’s a good...

One of the core theological ideas of Advent and Christmas is incarnation.  In sum, G-d took human form in the person of Jesus.  John’s Gospel has no nativity scene, but does contain this one-sentence incarnational Christmas story: “And the Word became flesh and lived among us.” John 1:14 

Some streams of Christianity have emphasized the uniqueness of this event, and thus the exclusiveness of access to G-d through Jesus.  Other streams, including the mystics and many Eastern forms of Christianity, have emphasized incarnation as a continuous reality – ever-occurring events –...

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...

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