Dec 26, 2014

Keeping Christmas Well: Like Ebenezer Scrooge

Luke 2:1-16
In the first stave of Charles Dickens’ classic story, A Christmas Carol , Ebenezer Scrooge didn’t have much enthusiasm for Christmas. “If I could work my will,” says Scrooge indignantly, “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried...Read more +
Dec 25, 2014

Our Waiting Is Over! The Savior Is Born...

Luke 2:1-20
When I was young, I thought manger meant “stable.” I was well into my adult years before I realized that a manger was a food trough for animals. Etymologically, manger is related to the French verb manger , which means “to eat.” Animals eat from a manger. No doubt Mary...Read more +
Dec 24, 2014

Advent Reflection: Sharing the Good News

Luke 2:15-20
The “E-Word.” That’s what Christians often call “evangelism.” It’s the “E-Word” because it’s the word that just about nobody wants to hear. If a pastor gets up and says, “Today I’m going to preach about evangelism,” the ushers had better bar the doors. Yes, there are churches that are unashamedly...Read more +
Dec 23, 2014

Advent Reflection: Peace

Luke 2:8-14
During the holiday season, we often encounter the phrase “Peace on Earth.” It shows up in popular songs such as “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” It appears on banners and Christmas cards. And, of course, we hear it read in church as part of the nativity story in...Read more +
Dec 22, 2014

Advent Reflection: The Humanity of Jesus

Luke 2:6-7
I expect you may have heard your pastor complain about the line in “Away in a Manger” that states, “The little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.” I admit that I have been one of those pastors. Though I did not ban this song from Irvine Presbyterian Church, where I...Read more +
Dec 21, 2014

Showing Jesus on the Run

Deuteronomy 6:5-9
One of the first things I learned as a chaplain was to stop telling people in today’s culture to “slow down.” It’s not that this isn’t good advice; it’s that the people who need to hear it already know it, but often don’t know how to do it, or can’t...Read more +
Dec 20, 2014

Waiting Out Loud

Romans 8:23-25
Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a negative experience at church? We all have, right? Often the moments of disappointment and pain are easy to recall, even years later. And yet, many of us refuse to give up, refuse to walk away ultimately because the Body of Christ can...Read more +
Dec 19, 2014

Advent Reflection: The Roman Empire

Luke 2:1-5
If you’re ever in Rome, you might visit the Piazza del Popolo (the People’s Square). This large square is famous for, among other things, its twin churches that form part of the square’s border. In the center of the piazza is an obelisk that stands over one hundred feet high...Read more +
Dec 18, 2014

Advent Reflection: God’s Tender Mercy

Luke 1:67-80
After his son, John, was born, Zechariah “was filled with the Holy Spirit” and uttered a “prophecy” (1:67). His prophecy is often called the Benedictus because of how it begins in Latin: benedictus Deus Israhel (Blessed be the God of Israel). Zechariah praised God for sending a Savior, whose way...Read more +
Dec 17, 2014

Advent Reflection: God’s Promise to David

Psalm 89:1-52
In our Advent reflection today, we remember that we are waiting for the one who is the Son of David, the rightful king of Israel. Psalm 89 accentuates this kind of waiting, first by celebrating God’s unfailing love, which was expressed through the Lord’s covenant with David. The Lord promised:...Read more +