Seasonal Reflections

First Week of Advent: Looking Back

By | 2017-12-07T12:14:42-04:00 December 5th, 2017|Advent 2017|

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, it’s a challenge to avoid looking back. Nostalgia is rampant. Families observe many long-standing holiday traditions: unpacking treasured decorations, putting up the tree, sharing holiday meals featuring favorite menus and recipes, attending concerts and programs, sharing memories and family stories, and singing familiar Christmas carols. In many families [...]

Advent: Preparation and Perspective

By | 2017-12-05T16:54:59-04:00 December 5th, 2017|Advent 2017|

The season of Advent has been observed by the Christian Church for the four weeks before Christmas since the sixth century. It was designated a time of preparation and penitence, and initially observed similarly to the Lenten season that precedes Easter. Advent was to be set aside for prayer, fasting and alms-giving, focused on preparing [...]

LENT: SEASON OF RE-CREATION

By | 2017-12-04T12:54:52-04:00 March 9th, 2017|Advent 2016|

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Christian season of Lent, which spans forty days (not including Sundays) before Easter, the Feast of the Resurrection.  In some Christian traditions ashes are rubbed on the foreheads of the faithful in the form of a cross, with the words "Remember that you are dust, and to dust [...]

God Rest You Merry!

By | 2017-12-04T14:35:44-04:00 January 5th, 2017|Advent 2016|

The familiar English carol, God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen, which was quoted by Charles Dickens in his 1843 novella A Christmas Carol dates back to at least the 16th century.  It was first printed and distributed with two other new carols in a 1760 broadsheet, an inexpensive single sheet of illustrated music, and was said [...]

PEACE

By | 2017-12-04T14:57:06-04:00 December 22nd, 2016|Advent 2016|

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14:27) What a precious gift Jesus gave to his disciples with these words.  They were said during a difficult [...]

Joy

By | 2017-12-04T15:15:22-04:00 December 14th, 2016|Advent 2016|

What are the first five (plus or minus two) words that pop into your mind when you hear the word “joy?”  Are any of the following synonyms on your list? gladness   mirth   delight   elation   felicity   rapture   bliss   jubilation   exhilaration   exultation   glee euphoria Just reading the words makes you smile, doesn’t it?  And you can probably [...]

Love

By | 2017-12-04T15:15:34-04:00 December 10th, 2016|Advent 2016|

Research assistants Timothy and Thomas waiting for results of their word search. If you search for the word “love” in the Bible you’ll find that it appears more than 700 times in both Old and New Testaments. As is the case in modern English usage, in the Scriptures the word “love” can refer [...]

Hope

By | 2017-12-04T15:15:52-04:00 November 29th, 2016|Advent 2016|

Thanksgiving is over.  The leftovers are disposed of, the football scores in the record books, the Black Friday/Saturday sales over.  The commercial hype of Christmas is in full swing.  Technically it is not Christmas yet, at least not in the Christian church.  The season that marks the beginning of a new liturgical year, and that [...]