Expecting the Word – Christmas Day

My Advent series this year will follow the Words Matter Advent study from the National Council of Churches. Download the whole booklet if you’d like, and follow along with the writings for each day. I’d love to discuss them with you. Also, here is a link to the Advent readings from the Inclusive Bible. I prefer the more inclusive language here, than the NRSV texts used in the study booklet (be sure to read the note on page 6).

John 1:1-14

When I was a child my grandfather always used to go downstairs first to light the fires and warm up the house, and all the siblings and cousins had to wait upstairs to see what Santa Claus had brought. Gankie always came back upstairs and told us, “He didn’t come.” The older kids always would look sad, and giggle, but my youngest sister collapsed in tears the first time she was old enough to understand.

But we know!

We’ve known all along!

He came! and not just Santa Claus – Jesus Christ has come to us again!

The time we’ve been waiting for (even though we’ve had it all along).

The baby has been born.

The shepherds have come, the kings are on their way.

Stockings have been emptied, presents have been unwrapped, carols have been sung, dinner has been eaten!

We are now settled in to enjoy all the good things that have been promised through the preceding weeks.

Hark, the Herald Angels Sing!

Expecting the Word – Advent Four – Saturday

My Advent series this year will follow the Words Matter Advent study from the National Council of Churches. Download the whole booklet if you’d like, and follow along with the writings for each day. I’d love to discuss them with you. Also, here is a link to the Advent readings from the Inclusive Bible. I prefer the more inclusive language here, than the NRSV texts used in the study booklet (be sure to read the note on page 6).

Luke 1:26-38

And now we come to it. Here is our responsibility in all of this.

How am I, and how are you saying “no” to G-d?

I have ideas, talents, and gifts, and I know that often I am too fearful, or too self-satisfied to say what I need to say, and do what I need to do.

If Mary was able to say “Okay” to the shame, and uncertainty, and difficulties of being Jesus’ mother, should I be able to say what I need to say, and do what I need to do?

I now say, “I will try!” and I hear the echo, “No, there is no TRY, there is only DO!”

Amen.

Expecting the Word – Advent Four – Friday

My Advent series this year will follow the Words Matter Advent study from the National Council of Churches. Download the whole booklet if you’d like, and follow along with the writings for each day. I’d love to discuss them with you. Also, here is a link to the Advent readings from the Inclusive Bible. I prefer the more inclusive language here, than the NRSV texts used in the study booklet (be sure to read the note on page 6).

Luke 1:26-38

You all know the story of Sleeping Beauty who was doomed to sleep because her wicked Fairy Godmother didn’t get a prime place at the celebration of her baptism. This little poem imagines a wicked Fairy Godmother coming to see the baby Jesus. (Thanks to RevJean’s blog.)

The Wicked Fairy at the Manger

My gift for the child

No wife, kids , home.

No money sense. Unemployable.

Friends yes. But the wrong sort…

The work shy, women, wogs,

Petty infringers of the law, persons

With notifiable diseases,

Poll tax collectors, tarts,

The bottom rung.

His end?

I think we’ll make it

Public, prolonged, painful.

Right, said the baby. That was roughly 

What we had in mind. 

Expecting the Word – Advent Four – Thursday

My Advent series this year will follow the Words Matter Advent study from the National Council of Churches. Download the whole booklet if you’d like, and follow along with the writings for each day. I’d love to discuss them with you. Also, here is a link to the Advent readings from the Inclusive Bible. I prefer the more inclusive language here, than the NRSV texts used in the study booklet (be sure to read the note on page 6).

Luke 1:26-38

We’ve been talking about Mary all this week in the devotional.

There’s nothing I could say any better than what Nadia Bolz-Weber said in her sermon last week. I commend it to you.

Expecting the Word – Advent Four – Wednesday

My Advent series this year will follow the Words Matter Advent study from the National Council of Churches. Download the whole booklet if you’d like, and follow along with the writings for each day. I’d love to discuss them with you. Also, here is a link to the Advent readings from the Inclusive Bible. I prefer the more inclusive language here, than the NRSV texts used in the study booklet (be sure to read the note on page 6).

Luke 1:26-38

The devotional today talks about authority – who has it, where it comes from, why it’s necessary.

Hand in hand with authority goes responsibility. We, who have been entrusted with the Word of G-d have the responsibility to use it judiciously.

I am reminded that the prohibition in the Ten Commandments against taking the name of G-d in vain, also means attributing to G-d our own wants, desires, and attitudes without thought for the consequences or even without reflection about G-d’s meanings and intentions.

I am particularly struck with this in this season of political  discourse, when candidates attempt to sway the public by invoking G-d’s name. If I were them, I would do so with fear and trembling.

Expecting the Word – Advent Four – Tuesday

My Advent series this year will follow the Words Matter Advent study from the National Council of Churches. Download the whole booklet if you’d like, and follow along with the writings for each day. I’d love to discuss them with you. Also, here is a link to the Advent readings from the Inclusive Bible. I prefer the more inclusive language here, than the NRSV texts used in the study booklet (be sure to read the note on page 6).

Luke 1:26-38

The author of the devotional today talks about names.

I’m named for my maternal grandmother. Her birth name was Anna Bell Eakin. Bell was a family name, and Anna was one of her aunts. When she was a little girl one of her teachers used to call her “Anna” just to tease her.

She would puff up and say, “My name is NOT Anna.”

He would reply, “Well, there must be a Bell to it, by the ring of your voice.”

As soon as she was old enough she changed it to Annabel.

* * *

When I was two years old, just learning to talk, my mother and grandmother were trying to teach me to say Annabel.

“Say ‘Anna’,” they would say.

“Anna,” I would answer.

“Say ‘Bell’,” they would say.

“Bell,” I would answer.

“Say ‘Annabel’,” they would repeat.

“Abbie,” I said!

And Abbie I am to this day.