May Christmas be Filled with Mouse Poop and Camel Spit By Randy S. Woodley

StainedGlassNativity

In this cynical and snarky world in which we live, we are getting pretty good at diagnosing the problems in the world, sometimes even to the point of paralysis. We blog about them, we read about them, (many Christians today would like to read themselves into Heaven),we discuss what's wrong with the world and we even preach about them. Being informed is not a bad thing but it is often the only thing we do. Our Western worldview has come to equate knowledge with real spirituality. I would like to … [Read more...]

God the Father and Embryo

Pieter de Grebber, Father God c.1645

Advent suggests so many mysteries of God's patience. One rarely commented case is God as Father and embryo. It is extra Biblical so imagination can only begin to tell the bizarre tale. Gabriel's annunciation and appearance to Joseph begins the period of waiting and soul searching, but a remarkable gap exists in the Advent story.  Luke 1:56 makes this cursory remark as though it would suffice:Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home. Presumably the second … [Read more...]

Tragic loss of children, birth of a child…redemptive hope-filled imagination.

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No matter where I seem to go this Christmas I can't seem to get out of the emotional storm and the long dark shadows that seem to diminish any hope of light. The mass murder of children; fragile life, hope filled life in the midst of a broken world snuffed out in minutes. And now in the wake of the aftershocks that reverberate through the midst of humanity...people point in all directions for why.But reality stares them in the face, profoundly it does not seem to see it. A nation whose … [Read more...]

Optional Advent

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This being the season of Advent; I think it’s worth taking a moment to identify what the word “Advent” means. The word carries the following meanings:  the arrival of, the coming of, the emergence of.  The question is, “of what?”  What needed to arrive? What needed to emerge? What needed to come?  The easy answer is Jesus. But the deeper answer is, and always has been, Emmanuel - God with us!Let’s begin with “God with us”. With us! Who does that include? Does it include only those that unders … [Read more...]

There must be more

Alessandro Tiarini, The Repentance of Saint Joseph c.1619

The first Advent was rather private, rural, shameful. Nine months in the womb of a young girl. Angelic appearances. Hard to believe. Could it be true that this child is something more than a delusion or a miracle? Though a professed virgin, Mary's story seemed a bold faced lie to her parents and her community. She was engaged to Joseph -- a seemingly good man. And he buys her story, defending her shame. The waiting and watching biological processes emerging within her womb testify to the oddity … [Read more...]

The Annunciation – A Divinely Human Moment

Simone Martini, Annunciation 1333 C.E.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.The beautiful anonymity and soft innocence of a young girl in Nazareth would be stripped by an angelic visitation. Who could ever envision the global veneration soon to commence? This Holy Virgin of Martini's masterpiece cannot be Mary's vision. The gilded, enthroned Mother of God,  Bl … [Read more...]

The Magi Myth

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I have no real problem with believing that actual Magi saw a funky astrological phenomenon and found a Jewish baby a few years later. I don’t deny that supernatural things like that can happen.I also don’t have a problem with the story in Matthew 2 being midrashic.I spent most of my life wanting the story to be historical. For some reason this year I want it to be mythic. We are hungry for myth. History is great for telling us who we were and why we are the way we are. Myth is better for … [Read more...]

Christmas…a revolution birthed in pain

" Silent night, Holy night...all is calm, all is bright ", every christmas we sing this carol. Usually candles in hand, flickering flames dancing on the walls like some angelic visitation. And we reflect on the birth of the God-child. Having two daughters and being present for both of their entrances into this world, I recall vividly it was anything but silent. Despite the pre-natal and birthing classes when the moment came, calmness and a plan were abandoned...for what ever works. Me standing … [Read more...]

Advent’s Economic Good News

It’s Advent, and I am waiting for Jesus, trying to keep my eyes open to see him when he shows up. I’ve committed to some particular prayers; I’m meeting one-on-one with each person in my community. I’m listening to the lectionary—listening for clues about where to look. The words of an ancient monk are on my mind: “he comes to us now in order that his future coming may find us prepared.”But I know all the stories about how religious people aren’t prepared. We fall asleep. We let the oil burn … [Read more...]

And Our Eyes At Last Shall See Him

In our family, we saturate the airwaves with Christmas music during the Advent season. We play it in the car, and as soon as we get home, and all through dinner, and as the kids are nodding off to bed. Every year, I tend to develop a new favorite song of the season. This year, it’s “Once in Royal David’s City.” I’ve always liked the song, which I place in the category of “fun British Christmas songs” along with “Good King Wencelas” and “I Saw Three Ships,” all of which are loads of fun and take c … [Read more...]


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