Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Here It Comes, Another Year.

When I open my eyes in the morning, I don't always feel excited about the day. After I get coffee in one of my artsy mugs, I head for the computer to boost my mood. I start by opening my email inbox and reading the inspiring thoughts generously sent, without charge, from sites like:

This morning, New Year's Eve day, in one of the emails I saw the following bible verse, and thought, yes, this is what I will hang onto as the calendar turns to 2015.

For God, who said, 
“Let light shine out of darkness,” 
has shone in our hearts 
to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, 
to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 
(2 Corinthians 4:6-7)

What can steady my hope for the coming year? I am 65 years old and hearing more often about  contemporaries dying. Others my age receive bad news about their bodies' ailments. I am all too aware that any day my own life could change dramatically and not for the better. Of course this could happen to any of us at any age.

The dazzling biblical assertion above hit me today as an epiphany.

The One who created, from nothing, a blazing star that sustains life on this planet, who added earthly lights like fireflies, blinking jellyfish and spontaneous combustion, the One who designed light to multiply by reflection and to refract into exquisite sunsets and rainbows across our sky, this same One "has shone into our hearts". 
The verse refers to the light of knowing God's "glory" through Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. Jesus gave humankind a glimpse of life's most glorious truth. Here it is: 
Ware actively loved by the One who birthed us and urges us toward wholeness and justice for all. It is our choice to "let the sun shine", as the Aquarius song goes, or to turn away, averting our eyes from God's enkindling presence.

Really? The First Cause Creator God who said, "Let there be light" has shone into my heart? My scarred, cranky, lazy heart?
Oh yes, I am like a lantern made of breakable clay - no doubt about it. My willpower and self-confidence can crack at the slightest insult or bump in the road. My faith and peace shatter easily.
But God's unsnuffable light keeps shining. There's a way to stay hopeful through whatever 2015 holds. As our quote says, "...the surpassing power belongs to God and not to ... ME!"
WHEW... and...
If I had a New Year's Eve noisemaker I'd blow it hard! 

Friday, 19 December 2014


How to make sense of thousands of people who don’t care about the Christmas story fussing over gifts, decorations and multiple parties because…why? 

Who legislated this annual festival of connecting with relatives and acquaintances that we ignore the rest of the year? 
If it’s not about God’s gift to humanity in Christ, why is this the one time people think about being generous?

What’s with the fairy tale of Santa Claus – how did it become the focus of school concerts and our most massive cultural celebration?
Don’t you think it’s weird? Hollow? Kind of pathetic?
I don’t agree with doing things automatically, just because we’ve always done them. I thought we ditched that idea in the 1960’s.

 On the other hand, is it possible to seriously believe that, one night, angels scared sheepherders by announcing a virginal birth happening just down the road? to believe that Jesus was unique in all of human history and somehow made it possible for us and our planet to be healed into peaceful love?  that beyond the killing bombs, the vicious rapes, the mean gossip at Christmas parties, that underneath and behind and above, the healing is in process? that the promise of Revelation 21:4 will ever come true?

As I stagger between bizarre nativity pageants and reports of weeping Pakistani parents, my sore heart is touched by Advent art: exquisite music, thoughtful writings, drama and paintings. These welcome gifts take me to places of hope beyond the ugliness, of grateful joy in spite of disappointments. They renew my faith in what I cannot see, the Love that finally wins.

( There’s nothing that attracts me about kings or pretty ladies with wings, but still this lullaby prayer…)