Tag Archives: Advent

Advent Waiting

Christmas is about the birth of a baby. We know that pregnancy, like Christmas, is often a flurry of preparation. That last four weeks, most of the preparations are complete. We are left with a time of waiting.

As a culture, we’re not good at waiting. Waiting on hold on the phone, waiting in line, waiting for our teen or partner to return, waiting for our paycheck, waiting for whatever…is exasperating. My new book “Elizabeth Gets Her Wings,” begins with impatient Elizabeth trying to get on God’s good side so she can get her wings early. She didn’t want to wait.

My Advent season has usually been a time of doing, four weeks of preparation for Jesus’ birth. This year I have heard God speak to me through many sources about Advent as a time of waiting – waiting with open hands and open heart.

Today, I arrived at church with my mind and heart focused on Advent waiting. We were collecting toys for the Salvation Army baskets. I’ve been so wrapped up in book signings that I had forgotten. As I waited for the collecting to be done, scolding myself for being so selfish, I heard these words in my heart, “Go get your new children’s Christmas books from the car. How often will a child receive a book signed by the author? I smiled. Before I set the books with the other toys on the chancel steps, I wrote this message for the child who would receive them, “Always remember you are God’s precious child.” Food for the soul: what better gift for a young child at Christmas? Already my focus on Advent as a time of waiting has borne fruit. I am grateful.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord”.  Psalm 27:14

Faith and Fear Walk Hand in Hand

Courage
Courage

I’m not sure what is happening. I know only that I have been reading Psalms, traditional and modern, something new. And now poetry is flowing from my pen onto paper, my fingertips onto the keyboard. I’ve been listening to the confusion, the fear, that is filling our hearts as we hear words of intolerance and isolationism shouted at us through the media. Today, as we approach the first Sunday of Advent, I have two poems for you.

Prayer
Prayer

Lament

Hate is spreading.
Intolerance growing.
The icy fingers of fear
are creeping in
through the cracks of our being.
What can I do?

I teach your love.
I write. I speak.
Some listen.
Your love touches a few.
Hatred has gone viral.
Money and knowledge lead the way
Manipulate the media.

One at a time
That was Jesus’ “way”.
A finger in the dyke.
Can that hold back the flood?
Of evil unleashed.
Destruction, murder, genocide
It’s happened before.
It continues to happen.

God says,
“Only love can defeat evil.”
I know from experience,
God’s love can overcome.
God’s love is stronger than death.
God’s love does bring new life.

Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer,
Help us! Please!

Trust
Trust

Advent/Christmas?

A baby is born?
Bringing Wisdom, Compassion
Is there time?

Intolerance grows.
Fear festers.
Evil’s response to love.
A last gasp.
A last grasp for total power.
How big? How long?

I will trust in God,
who walked on water,
healed the sick,
brought sight to the blind.
I will trust in God,
who died in love,
defeated death
brought new life.
I will trust in God.

I will continue to love,
to love this world into new life.
I will trust in God.

This is my faith.

Thought for the Day

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Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.

The second week of Advent begins today. Traditionally in the church, this is the week in which we focus on peace, peace in the world and peace within our individual lives. Today, my prayer is based on transformation of each one of us as individuals. Jesus refused the “devil’s offer” of using power to control the world. He chose to work with his presence, his love, his teaching. Today, I want to be God’s peaceful presence everywhere I go. Today I suggest that the goal of our words, our actions, our thoughts be based on being a channel of God’s Peace. This is our faith. I give thanks to God for coming to our world through individuals like you and me. Today I’ve used the words of that wonderful hymn:

Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.

A Thought For Your Day

Thank you God for...

During Advent I’m using a resource titled The Uncluttered Heart by Beth A. Richardson. She talks about an ancient tradition of the Christians Church in which pilgrims would ask of their spiritual leaders, “Give me a word of life.” Following in this tradition, I will be offering you “A Thought for Your Day” throughout the season of Advent as part of my preparation for Christmas. My hope is that you will carrying this thought with us will help us to keep centered on
opening our heart to Jesus. I’m starting three days in posting these so today you are getting three at once. Choose the one that speaks to you. Think about it through the day. Please let me know what effect focusing on God does for your day. Blessings Janet

Advent – Week 1    Hope gives power to life’s journey.

December 1      Give God 5 minutes today. God is waiting.

December 2      Thank you God for…

 

Under Construction

Winter brings relief from the constant road construction that slows down our journey. We want the convenience of smooth, uncongested roads without the frustration of time consuming delays and the vast expenditures of tax dollars required.
            The Advent scripture readings begin with the prophet Isaiah saying, “Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Remove the rough spots, the places where you step away from God. Remove the hatred and the prejudice that have become mountains between you and others. Fill in the valleys of greed. Accept the freedom to share your bounty with others. Smooth out the rough road of busyness and dissatisfaction with prayer and gratitude. Put your life under construction.
Yes, construction is expensive. Changing your life requires energy. You will have risk looking at your dearly held prejudices. Lay them down to love and accept all people. You will have to receive the wisdom that comes from holding out your hands in forgiveness to those who have hurt you. You’ll have to open your eyes and hearts to the pain of others. Your family and friends may lose patience with you. Construction is like that.
This Christmas season, instead of crying out to God to smooth out your life, listen to the prophet Isaiah. Begin your own construction company. Believe you can do it because of God’s promise to love you and support you. God will provide the friends, the bulldozers and the strength you need to get the job done. This Christmas, be ready for the birth of the Christ child in your own heart.
A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together.  (Isaiah 40:1-5)