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Showing posts from December, 2007

Advent Readings

I wrote the advent readings for the advent season at Richmond Town Methodist Church. Lighting advent candles is an old church tradition and brings to remembrance the waiting for, and the birth of, the Messiah. The first one - the Candle of Peace - was a collaboration with my husband (who ended up writing most of it). The rest are mine.

Candle of Peace

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men and women on whom his favor rests.”

Every year we celebrate the birth of our Saviour. There is excitement in the air! There’s shopping to do, gifts to wrap, Christmas carols to sing! Family, friends, laughter, and so much fun to be had! Yes, it is a time to celebrate. But stop for a moment and think…what are we celebrating?

Good news of great joy?
Peace on earth?

What are we celebrating?

If peace came to earth that night, where is it now? Is there peace for the child that will shiver on the street through December? Is there peace for the refugees of the Gujarat riots of 2002, who struggle through each day? And what of strife torn Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Kashmir? Will the Adivasi woman who was stripped naked and beaten on the streets of Guwahati last week be at peace this Christmas? And what about us? As we sit here, are we at peace? What turmoil do we go through as we think of our own lives?

What is Christian peace? And is God at p…

Candle of Hope

Today we light the candle of hope. Advent brings with it a spirit of expectation, of longing, of preparation. It is the anticipation of a coming Messiah. Through Old Testament history, the people of Israel waited to be released from the oppression of wicked kings and self-centered religious leaders. Constantly, they were being led astray by false prophets. God had then kept silent. And the people of Israel hoped God would raise up a new king, who would show them how they could be God’s people. They longed for the return of God’s presence among them.

O come, O come, Emmanuel.
And ransom captive Israel.

God had revealed through His prophets that He would not leave His people without a Shepherd. He would not let their hope die. But the people expected an earthy King, with all the power and might they saw in the Roman emperors. God sent them a child, born in a cattle shed, whose only “Kingly” procession would be on a donkey. The people didn’t realize that God had revealed Himself in Christ…

Candle of Joy

My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
He has looked with favour on His lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed;
the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his name.

Mary rejoiced when Gabriel told her of the coming child. She sang a song of joy, grateful for the favour bestowed upon her. Did this young, Jewish girl, think of the repercussions of her pregnancy? Did she, even for a moment, think of what Joseph would say, of what people would think, of what would become of her when her family found out? Apparently, at least at the time of the announcement, she doesn't seem to worry. She considers herself blessed! We can only assume that having encountered a messenger from God, having being made a part if God's plan for Israel, Mary is so filled with joy that she does not think of earthly consequences at all! She praises God and her lips sing a song that can only come from her heart.

The shepherds were out in the fie…

Candle of Love

Candle of Love - Advent Reading 4

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

This is the message of Christmas. This is why Jesus came. At the core of the Christmas message is really just one thing – love. At the core of Christianity is really just one thing – love.

Today we light the advent candle of love. As we do, let us pause for a moment to consider this love. This love that left heavenly realms to be born in a cattle shed. This love that gave up all power and might, to become a little child, helpless and needing care from humans. This love that chose to sit with those who had no home, eat with those who no one else would eat with, speak to those who no one bothered to speak to. Consider this great love that chose to become a sacrifice for creation that had scorned, ridiculed, and turned away from Him. Consider this love that came into the world as flesh, was hungry, was tired, wept, laughed, wa…

The Christ Candle

The waiting is over! The Messiah has come! It is in His coming that our hope, peace, joy and love are full. As we light the Christ Candle, we affirm that God is with us. As we light the candle, we are actually saying that the God who made the heavens and the earth, and all the creatures of the earth, is with us! Pause for a moment and think of that really means… God with us! Let this affirmation not get lost with the many words that we hear and speak everyday. Let it not become another phrase that we use along with our many shouts of acclamation. Pause and take in this most blessed truth – God is with us!

For the Israelites in Jesus’ time to say “God is with us” would mean so much more than what it would mean for you and me today. For years the people of Israel were under slavery, were lied to, were oppressed. Imagine what it must mean for these people to say, “Emmanuel has come! God is with us!” They were saying that God was on their side!

Are you saying that now? Can you affirm that…