• advent journal: affirmation

    by  • December 16, 2017 • 4 Comments

    affirmation let yes be our response to most any of life’s questions . . . not an answer as much as a declaration: yes to the chance, the hope, the opportunity, the near-miss, the adventure, the small gesture, the long shot, the promise, the possibility, the unexplainable, the failure, and even the grief: yes...

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    advent journal: far afield

    by  • December 14, 2017 • 8 Comments

    far afield I wonder what the shepherds did the year after the angels came, or how the Magi went about their business when they got back home. Do you think the innkeeper woke in the night sometimes and opened the door, hoping for strangers, or sat out in the barn for no reason? How...

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    advent journal: rituals of regard

    by  • December 13, 2017 • 4 Comments

    As I read news reports of the election results in Alabama and the dumpster fire that passes for the United States Senate, it struck me that people in power are not interested in peace. They thrive on agitation, on disruption. We have become accustomed to the word grenades that get tweeted in the middle...

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    advent journal: gift swap

    by  • December 11, 2017 • 6 Comments

    I offer a poem of my own this evening. gift swap the Christmas party tradition for the confirmation classes is to sit in a circle and take turns choosing a gift, or taking one someone else has already opened and replacing it with another mystery. the giant jar of M&Ms changed hands four or...

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    advent journal: spread peace

    by  • December 10, 2017 • 3 Comments

    As the second week of Advent begins, the light moves from hope to peace. The practice of Advent grows out of church tradition rather than anything Jesus said or did, or anything in the Bible. I don’t know the story of how the weeks became identified—hope, peace, joy, and love—or how the order was...

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    advent journal: walking towards

    by  • December 9, 2017 • 1 Comment

    As this first week of Advent draws to a close and we prepare to move form hope to peace, I offer these words from The Shape of a Pocket by John Berger: Hope, however, is an act of faith and has to be sustained by concrete actions. For example, the action of approach, of...

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    advent journal: changing the terms

    by  • December 8, 2017 • 10 Comments

    This week I have been posting poems on my Facebook page. I started because a friend half-jokingly asked me to pick up where the Writer’s Almanac had left off, since it stopped when Garrison Keillor was fired after allegations of sexual harassment. That was a tough one for me. I started listening to A...

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    advent journal: songs of hope

    by  • December 7, 2017 • 1 Comment

    I spent some time looking for songs about hope in my music library tonight, in search of something beyond the songs I go to first. Here’s what I found. The first is from the Milk Carton Kids, who are sort of Simon and Garfunkel for a new century. Their song is called “Hope of...

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    advent journal: holding the door

    by  • December 6, 2017 • 4 Comments

    Two or three times on Facebook today I saw a picture posted of an engraved quote at the FDR Memorial in Washington DC. It reads, The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have...

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    advent journal: commas of care

    by  • December 5, 2017 • 4 Comments

    For a long time now, the comma has been an important symbol for the United Church of Christ. You have to love a denomination that finds metaphor in punctuation. The idea started with the “God Is Still Speaking” campaign that played off of a Gracie Allen quote—“Never put a period where God has placed...

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