The Three Advents of Jesus

We usually think of Advent as a time preparing us for the birth of Jesus—for that coming of Jesus as a newborn babe some 2000 years ago. But traditionally within the church Advent has had a deeper and broader meaning than just Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. In fact, we could… Continue reading

Matthew 2:1-18 “Light in the Darkness”

The great German preacher Helmut Thielicke, in an Epiphany sermon entitled “The Message of Redeeming Light,” said the following:   If we take light seriously, we have also to reckon with the fact that there is a night in which it shines. This is the limit of all Christmas dreams. Light… Continue reading

Inventing Christmas

One of my cherished yuletide traditions is reading Charles Dicken’s wonderful book, A Christmas Carol. Each Christmas season, Susan and I also watch several movies offering their interpretations of this classic novella. The films starring George C Scott and Patrick Stewart as Scrooge are my favorite adaptations of this Christmas… Continue reading

When is Christmas Over?

Many years ago, there were societies which celebrated twelve days of Christmas. Prior to Christmas, Advent was observed in solemn ways similar to the austerities of Lent and was a time for repentance and preparing oneself spiritually for the coming of the Christ Child. But on Christmas Day, all that… Continue reading

A Franciscan Advent/Christmas Meditation

St. Francis was responsible for the first living creche. He wanted the peasants of his day to know the love of God in a very intimate and profound way. Francis reasoned that they could approach God more easily in a tiny baby than in the regal and overpowering images found… Continue reading

John 3:16; 1:43-46; 1:14 “Are You Ready for Christmas?”

Are you ready for all the feelings of worthlessness to melt away in the glory of God’s love poured out for you? Are you ready to realize from the inside out and in the deepest recesses of your heart and soul that rather than being “nobody’s nothing,” you are a precious, unique child of God whose worth has been sealed forever by sacrificial love? Are you prepared to embrace the identity you already possess in the eyes and heart of God? And are you willing to recognize that such an identity is the birthright of each and every person in this world? If you are ready to know who you really are, then you are ready for Christmas. Continue reading

“Herod on Our Family Tree?” Matthew 2:1-23

In most churches, last Sunday was Epiphany Sunday.  Matthew 2:1-12, the story of the magi, is the Gospel reading in the Lectionary for that Sunday and is understood as Matthew’s version of the birth of Jesus. In our minds as well as in Christmas pageants and Living Creche productions, we… Continue reading

Luke 2:22 40 “The Sword of Discrimination”

I remember a professor in one of my psychology classes distributing baby and childhood photos of Adolph Hitler and Albert Schweitzer. The teacher asked whether we could see in the photos of Hitler anything sinister, cruel, paranoid, and psychotic. He then asked if we could see in the photos of… Continue reading