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

magi

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...]

Mary…re-imagining Advent

ea4

( Mary...East Vancouver 2007 ) It's late Sunday evening and I'm working on the computer and I get a text from my daughter, " help!" She has to give a reflection at chapel the next day around Advent. My daughter works at christian based Drug and Addiction Rehabilitation Center for young women. So we start the ball bouncing, me sending it across the " net " and her returning it. Suddenly something profoundly redemptive starts to unravel...it may not be biblically, or theologically correct. … [Read more...]

Tis the Season…

Christmas just isn't so much my season. I'm not a Scrooge exactly, but maybe just his first cousin once removed. In sum, I hate the whole thing, except for the Christian part of it. But every time I lay claim to the beauty of holy nativity, I sound to myself like one of those annoying, holier-then-thou, put Christ back in Christmas folks whom I dislike more than I dislike the whole secularized mess itself. What it all finally boils down to, in candor and honesty, is that I fall down into the l … [Read more...]

But How Amazing Is It That We Get To Help?

Bob and his beard.

This Advent we are looking at the Christmas story through the lens of the Mission of God. So, this last Sunday we got to walk through parts of Isaiah asking, "What will this Kingdom God is bringing thru Jesus look like?" We want to know, if God is about the rescue and renewal of the world, what will that encompass? And more, what's OUR part in the story?Words like peace, justice, fairness, wholeness and flourishing (shalom)... This is what we are promised God is bringing about even now- … [Read more...]

Is God Coming? An Advent Poem

caravaggioimages

Is God coming? God is here! Can’t you see him all around you? From the first light of creation, To the moment that he found you.We’re not abandoned or left comfortless. But Scripture reveals a pattern that we’ve missed. His comings aren't limited two, the bridegroom hasn’t been "delayed". Comings run through Scripture like a thread, our perception needs to be remade.Not all comings were in his body, to be seen and touched and heard, He was in the Burning Bush and Firey Furnace, as … [Read more...]


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