#rethinkAdvent #GodWithUs

Here’s the last blog post on this topic. God is with us!

Advertisements

#Birth #RethinkAdvent …In other words what the heck is that thing on your lawn??

Driving home in South Minneapolis from Christmas Eve worship I saw this house with these weird things on their lawn. 

I suppose they are some Arctic dwelling thing to play in; kind of like an ice house but not on the lake -for kids to play in in winter. (Who knows?)

They can only make me wonder since I don’t have anybody to tell me the meaning or the reason for them. 

As we were leaving worship our final song was “go tell it on the mountain.” And if we don’t go tell the story of Jesus Christ and his miraculous virgin birth (…yes I really do believe it was a miraculous virgin birth…) as good news to all people that brings great joy people will be left to wonder -what’s our manger scene on our front lawn all about?

Just like I’m wondering what these weird huts are.

Jesus’ birth changed literally everything -past present and future. 

May it be so that we tell the story, so others know and don’t have to wonder anymore. 

Merry Christmas 🎄❣️

An sweet excerpt from Kevin Kling’s Holiday Inn… #warmth #rethinkAdvent

img_2472

(After Christmas supper, after apple cider and movies…) From p. 20

   We all remember the Christmases at my grandparents’ farm, everyone laughs, and it grows silent for a minute.

A cousin’s new baby gets passed around. Even I get to hold her. She smells so good – new baby smell is even better than new car smell. I have to be so careful with her. The future.

As I hold her, it seems clear why God sent Jesus as a baby. When it came time to teach a sinning world a lesson, what else could he send? He’d already tried floods, bugs, famine, and other devastations. What would he visit upon a corrupt and careless world? A baby. Fragile and helpless. Take care of your faith, or it will die.

God was way ahead of us. It’s like when my brother looks at a rock and my Dad says, “Don’t even think about it.” How does he know?

You should order this book.

This entry will serve as my Advent Day 26 entry for #warmth

 

Advent Day 24 #Stillness #RethinkAdvent

img_2459

As an introvert, I really allow myself to say no to a lot of social functions, simply because it’s just not my thing and we get one life, you know, so why waste it on places where I feel awkward (haha). So, I can say confidently that Advent hasn’t felt like a “busy” time rushing around, as some report, and it’s also easy for me to say, since I only have 2 dogs and not any kids…

Today’s word: Stillness, then, at first seems like an easy essay for me. I’m still or un-busy often enough. I knit, I watch Hallmark Christmas movies with Kelly, I read, I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed. Okay, I know those are not being “still,” but those things also aren’t rushing around. They allow me to feel inner “stillness.”

When I thought of being truly still, the phrase “How silently, how silently the wond’rous gift is given,” came to me. In the stillness,  Christ came and broke into our world to say no to pain and catastrophe. Since then, the reverberations have not let us be too still. We have a hard time sitting still because there’s justice-work to be done.

In my office, there was a paper jam in the HP Deskjet 6988 printer a few weeks ago, and ever since then, no matter how many times I turn it on or off or push buttons, there’s this blinking network light. It is in my left field of vision even as I type this. Blink blink blink. Unstill – unstill! I pride myself on being somewhat of an amateur techie but I still haven’t been able to get this thing to stop blinking [it’s the little green light on the right side of the picture above].

In this Advent world, even in the quiet or the stillness, there are still pressing issues that blink at me. Always there, never far from the reminder of the catastrophe just beyond the corner.

Still, Jesus is coming. Come quickly Lord!

Here’s the photo-a-day practice I’m following.

 

Advent Day 23 #Presence #reThinkAdvent

img_2455

I used to visit one elderly gentleman each week for my part-time job as a caregiver. His family moved him much further away so they ended the care-giving services for this past year but his social worker contacted me recently because he’s been asking about me.

Before I go on, I should explain that in order to understand him, you’d have to have quite a skill with deciphering his coded speech, since he had a stroke and he speaks a lot of incoherent jumbled words. But he was mentioning key words from our time together such as “Guatemala” (He remembered that I said I may travel there), “Lutheran” (He remembers that I am Lutheran and since he was raised Baptist, we always made fun of each other… and some other things.

So I was cleared to go see him again and today we had our visit.

In his little nursing home room he has some photo albums and yearbooks that belonged to his father who went to Northwestern University way back in the 1920s. I’ve looked through these before with him and whenever we come to this page (the one in the photo above) he becomes very animated and wants me to read it to him and he seems to tell me that he’s related to the lady in the top photo. I can’t be sure, but why not just believe him?

Today’s advent word was “presence,” and I saw it on the page. Part of the passage says, “When a soul is thus yielded to Him, God does work through that one to bless others of His children. For this reason – that we have been blessed by their presence among us – there is an element of sorrow in seeing them go, but it is far outweighed by our joy.” (This is about over-seas mission efforts by the college.)

I suppose that quote fits for more than just friends who dedicate their life to mission service. As I say goodbye to 2016 and begin the new church year through advent, it’s a time of letting go of the presence of things that have not brought joy, and remembering those things that did!

I’m doing this spiritual practice of a photo-a-day. Learn more here.