Archive for the ‘Advent’ Category

A Thought Before Christmas 12-23-2018

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

There is a story that comes out of India which tells of a beggar whose great hope was that he would meet the king. Then, he dreamed, alms would be given him unasked and wealth scattered all around him in the dust. One day, the king’s golden chariot came into the village and actually stopped where the beggar stood. The king saw the poor man, got out of the chariot, and walked with a smile toward him.
The beggar was ecstatic. He felt that good fortune had come his way at last. But instead of giving him anything, the king held out his hand and said, “What do you have to give to me?” The beggar was confused and undecided. Then slowly, he took from his loaded knapsack a single grain of wheat and gave it to the king. The king made no move to give him anything in return. Disillusioned and dejected, the beggar walked to his bare room. At day’s end, he emptied his bag on the floor and was surprised to find a single grain of gold among all the other grains of wheat. He wept bitterly and thought: “If only I had the heart to give the king my all.
The beggar found only a single grain of gold in his bag because he had given away only a single grain of wheat. If he had given more, he would have received more.
A few weeks before Christmas – in the midst of money being tight, and the normal Christmas rush and pressure – we have many things to give – Let us not be afraid to give them. How about these:
1. Remember an old friend
2. Call or write to someone who has lost someone through death
3. Give peace
4. Forgive an enemy
5. Set differences aside in our families
6. Give of yourself – a small bit of quality time
7. Perform an act of kindness
8. Offer a few sincere thoughtful words of encouragement and affirmation.
9. Give love
and guess what, Christmas will be forever! Wouldn’t that be great!

Remember You Always Walk With God 12-16-2018

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

A few weeks before Christmas, a woman who lived in a New York apartment building found a greeting card taped to her door. “Merry Christmas from the custodial staff”, it said.
“How nice”, she said to herself and promptly forgot about it. A week later she came home to find another card taped to her door. It was the same message, “Merry Christmas from the custodial staff”. But this time stamped right in the middle in big red letters, were the words, “Second Notice”!
Many of us are terribly forgetful. We immerse ourselves in our daily tasks of life as we must-we can forget almost anything: birthdays, anniversaries, appointments, our bank balance, our glasses. You name it, we forget it. We make lists so we won’t forget and then we forget the list.
But our forgetfulness isn’t limited just to the little things. We forget the big things as well; who our real friends are, what really matters in life, who loves us, who needs us, what we were made for. We just forget.
I believe that is why we need to gather here – week after week; to help each other remember who we are, remember what really matters, and remember that we aren’t walking this long road alone. We’re walking it with the Lord who is right at our side.
And what is this Lord like who walks at our side? Does God walk with us as a critic? A police officer? A judge? Or maybe just an impartial observer? In fact the Lord is none of the above.
The Lord walks with us as a partner and mentor who wants to see us succeed and who understands that it’s going to take us a while. Now what more could we ask? How can we not celebrate and rejoice as today’s liturgy urges us. How can we not be confident and hopeful and put all fears behind us. After all, God is with us and for us!
And there’s still more. Having God walking with us as partner and mentor gives us the opportunity to be in close conversation hourly. With simple words like, “Well, Lord, what do you think about this?” Or, “Lord can you help me see this clearly?” Or simply, “Help, Lord, I can’t do this one alone.” Those are the kinds of words that partners and friends speak very often.
All of that is what we have to come together here to remember. First, remember to rejoice and forget all your fears because God is with us. And second, remember to listen to and talk to God about the real stuff of our lives because God cares more than anyone else…and God knows the way home.
I would like to close by sharing with you my idea of what God’s special Christmas card would say to each one of us;
“Remember what you’ve seen me do”, says Jesus. “…the blind see, cripples walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, and dead men raised to life”. If you’ll let me, I’ll do the same for you”, he says. “I’ll heal what is sick in your spirit, if you’ll let me”.
“I’ll open your eyes and your ears so that you’ll know what really matters so you’ll know that happiness and peace are available to you everyday, even on the worst days. I’ll show you that and let you experience that, if you’ll let me.
“I will not insulate you from adversity, challenge, or pain. But I will always see you through them, and never let you come to ultimate harm. I’ll take you by the hand, and raise you up; I’ll help you to walk and I’ll walk with you until your journey is complete, if you’ll let me.
“All that is my promise to you, my solemn pledge. And I will not take it back”, says the Lord. We have a lot to rejoice about today! Don’t we!!

Road Builders 12-9-2018

Saturday, December 8th, 2018

The little boy is scheduled for surgery the following morning. He is understandably scared. Late that night before the procedure, a nurse comes in to check on him. He is awake. Seeing the tears in his eyes, she sits on the corner of his bed and lets him talk about his fears. She explains not only what will happen but why. She answers his questions with honesty and assurance. After a while, the little boy understands. He’s still anxious, but the road is now a little smoother…
He’d be perfect for the sales opening. He has been invited in for an interview with the sales manager. Before the meeting he calls a friend who works in human resources. The friend tells him what he knows about this company and their culture and what they typically look for in sales associates. They study the company’s website together and the HR pro points out what to note about the company and what to talk up in the interview. He also helps his friend update and tune-up his resume. By the end of their time together, he’s ready for his meeting and a possible new beginning on the road of his life…
She was working on her psychology paper when she got the call from her mom. Her beloved Nana had died. Though not a complete surprise, she was still devastated. Her roommate made coffee and took her up to the dorm roof, where they sat and talked. Actually, she talked and the roommate listened. The roommate knew what she was going through because the roommate had lost her grandmother the year before. Her roommate’s empathy helped her negotiate, for the first time in her young life, the hard journey down the road of grief…
I would like to leave you with this thought: John the Baptist, that we hear so much about this week and next, came to fulfill Isaiah’s vision of the prophet: to “make straight” a highway to God, to create a level road for all of us to travel to the kingdom of God. We may have forgotten this, but because of our baptism, we take on that same role of prophet 2018 to create passageways and entries of hope, healing and support for all of us to complete our journey on the road to God’s dwelling place. Road builders: the nurse, the human resources friend, the roommate, every one of us sitting in this church today. Road builders to God!