The deadlines for the bulletin have all been moved up this season so I write these words on the day before Christmas Eve, with a sense of anticipation and light. The big tree in the church, as of now, has yet to be decorated; when it’s lit, especially in the dark church, it’s a magnificent sight. Every year a member of our parish donates this tree to us, so we are grateful.

We are now in a new year, we celebrate this weekend the Epiphany of the Lord which tells the story of the arrival of the magi from the east. They come to pay homage to the  newborn Christ child, and already within the story there is the shadow of a threat, as Herod is suspicious of their asking about a newborn king, and responds with the massacre of all male children under the age of two. The Christ child from His birth will walk in the shadow of threat and death as he announces the good news of God’s kingdom of justice,
peace, mercy, and reconciliation, and He will go to the cross and die for that kingdom. In so many ways, the message of the Christ has always been and still is under threat,  anytime we do not see and respond to the radical message of the gospel in our times.

A very fine book recommendation: “A Book of Uncommon Prayer:100 Celebrations of the Miracle and Muddle of the Ordinary” by Brian Doyle. The description on the back cover begins this way: “Prayers for cashiers and good shoes; for shorter sermons and better senators; prayers for the bruised, foolish, glorious, stumbling, brilliant Church; for chaplains and mathematicians; for idiot authors and muddy dogs..” The preface is titled, “Prayer for the Idiot Author That He Doesn’t Totally Punt in the Pages That Follow.” What I love about this book is that the 100 prayers are all about the everyday and ordinary, that they are not necessarily “proper” or pious, but are rooted in the everyday stuff and happenings of life. And isn’t that where God meets us?

Blessings on your week!


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