Friday, December 23, 2011

Some questions...and a Christmas Blessing for you!

Is there any particular purpose for the preparations you are making for Christmas this year? Preparing your home for the yearly gathering of family scattered far and wide. Madly shopping for gifts to give to all the people on your list. Concerned that you still haven’t finished mailing out your Christmas cards this year. Oh, and don’t forget the Christmas lights, the tree and the decorations. But then you could just be getting sick of the whole thing already. Overdosed on continuous Christmas carols being played over the sound systems in the shopping malls. Participating in a seemingly endless round of Christmas parties and Christmas concerts. Overwhelmed by the continuous barrage of Christmas gift ideas on TV, internet and junk mail. The traffic. The crowds. Tired. Stressed. Weary. I know I am. So I want to share a couple of things with you. Both of which, I hope, will help you rediscover the purpose behind this seemingly maddening time of year. The first is my hope that in the midst of all this bedlam, you find a peace that enables you to meet family, friend and stranger with compassion, patience and love.

The second is this which I received from friends at The Gathering Place in Canberra.

May the blessing of the Holy One who gives us life,
the blessing of the Human One who heals our lives,
the blessing of the Spirit who enriches our life,
be with us all during this sacred time.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mary, Mary...

Luke 1:26-38 records for us the visitation of Mary by the angel Gabriel. A surprising event by any standard. Angelic visitors are always noteworthy. The message that this one brings if even more so. Surprising. Noteworthy. Threatening. Challenging.

The announcement that God has chosen Mary to be the mother of his son puts her at risk. Who among friends and relatives would believe the story of divine visitation and holy overshadowing? A pregnant young teenager is more a matter of hormones and lack of control. And besides, if God was really going to come to earth wouldn't he come fully developed. A general or leader to free his people. Why a baby??? Why the long haul of growing up and maturation? Why the toilet training? The learning to speak and eat? Why the struggle of adolescent? No sense in this plan. Nothing that would make Mary's story believable anyway.

But while the idea of getting caught up in Mary's predicament or her blessedness at being chosen by God is interesting, the text asks a bigger question of us. For in reading Mary's story and then watching it unfold in the life of Christ recorded for us in the Gospel, we can see ourselves and our own life. As you look at your life you need to ask yourself this question.

Do you believe that God is active in your life today?