The Light Shines in the Darkness

It helps to remember under what circumstances it happened. The nation was occupied by a hated foreign power. Reminders were all around, a part of daily life: soldiers garrisoned in the cities and around the countryside, heavy taxation imposed, even on poor people, to finance the occupation. The holy temple, the presence of which reassured […]

Where Is God in this Mess?

One of my most precious memories that returns every Christmas is the catastrophe that resulted from recruiting my then young children to join me at the kitchen table to help assemble a cardboard do-it-yourself crèche. Christians have been recreating the Bethlehem birth tableaux, mother and child, dutiful father, barn animals, shepherds and wise men , […]

Fear Not

Every day, it seems, Donald Trump says something outrageous, offensive, down right mean and frequently contrary to the very highest and noblest values upon which the United States of America is founded. And every day his poll numbers rise. What in the world is going on? Pundits are scratching their heads. Republican Party leaders are […]

Advent with Rachel

I sat in a Presbyterian pew this morning, the first Sunday in Advent, with family members: son, daughter-in-law, grandson, two granddaughters – one of whom was Rachel Diane. It is Rachel’s 21st birthday today. Rachel is a young woman with Down syndrome. It is always a magnificent experience to worship God with her. Rachel is […]

Silent Night

Among the most beloved words I know are these: “And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, Praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven And peace among those whom he favors. (or with whom he is pleased)’” The words strike deeply in our hearts whether recited […]

A Season of Waiting

O, You better watch out, You better not cry, you better not pout,  I’m telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town. “Christmas Creep” has been happening around here since before Halloween. The great engine of American retail commerce has been operating at full speed for weeks, urging us to shop and purchase in […]

On Christmas Eve

Ebeneezer Scrooge is one of the great characters in all fiction and his story In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is told and dramatized every December. It is one of the great morality tales in all of literature. It is also an eloquent articulation of the transformative power of love, which is the heart of […]

Don’t Make Me Come Down There: Part 3

Greetings on this Monday morning before Christmas! We hope you will enjoy the third and final installment of Dr. Buchanan’s sermon, “Don’t Make Me Come Down There,” delivered originally in December 2008. If you haven’t yet caught up with the first two installments they were published here on Hold to the Good last week. We hope you […]

Don’t Make Me Come Down There

This sermon, from December 7, 2008, will be posted in three installments.  Dr. Buchanan was eager to share it on Hold to the Good as we make our way through this busy and sometimes chaotic season. May it help you to find a few moments of peace and serve as a timely reminder of that […]

No Ear May Hear Him Coming

The weeks before Christmas are a study in contrasts. On the one hand, our consumer-driven, market economy is in overdrive. Retail business is brisk, store hours are long, shoppers follow sale after sale, looking for bargains. In fact, retail merchants depend on the weeks before Christmas for a positive bottom line at year’s end. I […]