Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Means

Christmas means that we believe the Kingdom is coming and is to come.

Christmas means that Christ is True God, "begotten not made, of one being with the Father."

Christmas means atonement, that is, at one ment: God with us, "pleased as man with men to dwell."

Christmas means that the words of the prophets are fulfilled in our hearing.

Christmas means that God loves us, comes to us, and invites us into relationship. Christmas means that God offers us prevenient grace in the form of God as man.

Christmas means that the True Light is already shining, and we are called to live as children of light.

Christmas means that God fulfills promises; we are still a waiting world, and Christmas is the hope that someday, our waiting will forever cease.

Christmas means lighting the Christ candle, the fulfillment of the candles for hope, peace, joy, and love.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


This past Sunday was Gaudete Sunday, the Advent Sunday focused on joy. This is also often a Sunday for the Magnificat. Because of some services I've been to in Budapest, I have a new favorite Magnificat arrangement. This isn't the choir I've seen sing it, but here's a link to a video. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Before Him Shall Peace, The Herald, Go

"Hail to the Lord's Anointed" by James Montgomery is more upbeat and joyful than a lot of Advent hymns. Advent may be a traditionally penitential season (even if we don't always consider it that way), but there is great joy in what we await.

Hail to the Lord's Anointed, 
great David's greater Son!  
Hail in the time appointed, 
his reign on earth begun!  
He comes to break oppression, 
to set the captive free; 
to take away transgression, 
and rule in equity.

We are not waiting just to wait. Christ does not come simply to come. Christ comes as the Promised One, the One who sets free, the King.  We look around and see oppression, wrong, and inequality, but because we await the One who sets all things right, we do not lose hope. We believe that the Lord's Anointed comes in the time appointed and reigns on earth and in heaven forevermore.

We light a candle for hope, and we hail the One who was and is and is to come.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Now The World Is Waiting

One of my favorite GLAD Christmas songs (on "Voices of Christmas") is really an Advent song: Bob Kauflin's "All the World was Waiting."

All the world was waiting for the promised One.
Prophets through the ages claimed that He would come.
Would He be a warrior, or a conquering king?
Could he be the one who’d save us from our sin and suffering?

During Advent, the first Lectionary readings (the Old Testament readings) are almost all from the prophets. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Zephaniah, Malachi. We hear the despair of a people, even they are just a remnant, and we hear the Lord's promises. God has not forsaken the people. The promised One will come and save.

All the world was waiting the night that you were born.
God of life eternal, in a fragile form.
Shepherds gathered closer, gazing at your face;
Wondering how this helpless child could save a fallen human race.

So often we think we know what will save us. But throughout scripture we see God calling out to the least and the lost, working in ways we wouldn't expect, appearing in places and ways that surprise us. It was the shepherds who gathered around, and a newborn was proclaimed as Savior and Messiah.