Monthly Archives: December 2007

Reflections for Christmas Eve

Philippians 2:5-8
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though hewas in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave,being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, hehumbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.

My beautiful bride Anina and I are visiting my parents in Texas forthe holidays. We just got home from a nice happy Christmas Eveservice. Some carols, lots of candlelight, everyone standing at dramatic moments… you know, the usual. Now don’t get me wrong. It’s great that we celebrate Christ’s choice to come live as we do. It’s totally something only God could do… to choose to take a step down the “social ladder” of the universe. Not up. Down. How often do I choose to do that? So, have you ever heard that phrase, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery…”? It means if you really think something is cool, you copy it.

I guess what I wonder is, if this is the season where I really celebrate how cool Jesus is, what am I doing to copy Him? If I was going to take this Philippians passage and sum up what Jesus did, in one word, I’d say “give.” Jesus Christ gave. Thankfully, this season brings the perfect opportunity to give. (Semi-relevant confession: Anina and I opened our presents early.)

So it’s getting late into the evening on Christmas Eve, and you’ve probably gone out and finished all your shopping for gifts to give to family and friends.But take a moment tomorrow morning, and think about giving a little bit more. Is there a soup kitchen in your community? Is there a food bank? Is there a clothing donation center? Is there a womens’ shelter? Get creative and think of one more way to give before you go back to school or normal routines.

Because Jesus Christ gave to everyone…

Following the Star

We talk a lot about the “true meaning of Christmas,” don’t we? Often, I’m pretty proud that I’ve got it all figured out… but is this really reflected in my actions? Is the spiritual season of Advent really something really has any effect on my relationship with my Creator? Questions like these have been bugging me recently, and I encourage you to ask yourself as well.

I’m still no all-star when it comes to thinking and praying about what it really means that Jesus Christ came down to us. But I’ve found a resource that I’d like to share that has really helped:

followthestar

Following the Star is an online devotional guide, just for Advent. It’s updated daily, with new contemplative music and new scriptures and devotional questions to help you ponder what Advent is all about… It works based on a series of pages that lead you to pause and reflect, listen to scripture, think about your world with the help of a devotional passage, pray for God’s guidance in applying his Truth, and then go into the world just waiting for you to bring God’s love.

Try it. See if it doesn’t have an impact.

(and it continues on past Advent too, @ d365.org)

Willimon & The Offensiveness of Advent

I’ve had Methodist pastor Will Willimon’s blog in my Google Reader since last May when a colleague talked a lot about him at a retreat. Here’s a recent gem:

More than likely, Advent eschatology offends us for more mundane reasons. I am at church seeking personal advice for how to have a happy marriage or how to get along with the boss next week, only to have Advent wrench my gaze in our subjectivity in its insistence that whatever God is about in the Advent of Jesus, it is something quite large, quite cosmic, quite strange and humanly unmanageable, something more significant than me. I am not the master of history.

So let us begin with the honest admission that our real problem with these Advent/Christmas texts is largely political and economic. Tell me, “This world is ending. God has little vested interest in the present order,” I shall hear it as bad news.

However, for a mother in a barrio in Mexico City who has lost four of her six children to starvation, to hear, “This present world is not what God had in mind. God is not finished, indeed is now moving, to break down and to rebuild in Jesus,” I presume that would sound something like gospel. For her the Advent/Christmas message presages a revolutionary conflagration.

A great deal depends, in regard to our receptivity to these texts, on where we happen to be standing at the time when we get the news, “God is coming.”

It’s Advent. Let the revolution begin.

 

From his most recent blog post.

Snow

Tonight went to a Christmas party at a house in a neighborhood in the hills west of Durango. Normally the drive takes about 15 minutes. Coming back down into town took maybe 30, 4WD and low gear all the way. It was so cool to see that much snow on the road! I’ve been complaining about how warm it’s been recently, and how little precipitation we’ve been getting. Last weekend we got a pretty good storm and Purgatory opened with a good amount of frontside trails available. Today the backside opened during a storm. So maybe all my complaining got us somewhere… or not. It’s just nice to finally have snow around. Hopefully the temperatures will stay down so we can keep it.

After we got home I took Rusty out to pee, since we had been gone about two-and-a-half hours. Now normally this involves a flashlight for any time later than 7:00. This was 8:30, and even though Durango doesn’t have a lot of glaring lights, what little there is was reflecting all over the snow and it was like a bright dusk outside. A wierd phenomenon to try to put into words. Just much brighter outside than one would expect it to be when the sun has gone all the way down.

I know I haven’t posted in a while, and this is a good excuse for me to write some, to get back into it. There’s been interesting stuff going on at work, but I’m carefully examining how much work stuff I talk about now that staff blogs are on their way to becoming a disputed topic. And that may have been saying too much, hahaha.

Well, hopefully February will bring plenty of blog fodder. Pending official acceptance, I’ll be taking an online class through University of Dubuque Theological Seminary (UDTS). “Theology of Mission and Evangelism.” Seeking to rethink these two major components of ecclesiology in the context of our ever-changing culture.