The Children

Christmas is over but a singular Biblical incident is haunting me this year. The Christian story, from the beginning, is set in the context of political power, insecurity and cruelty. “In the time of King Herod” is the way Matthew begins. The Magi, mysterious seers from the east- modern Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, following […]

The Wondrous Gift is Given

One of the important, and sweet, transitions in life is learning the truth that it is better to give than to receive. It is important, sweet, happy and much more joyful to give than to get: “more blessed” is the way Jesus put it. Earliest Christmas memories are about getting, receiving: childhood anticipation and waiting […]

The Light Shines in the Darkness

I’m finding it difficult to be hopeful this Christmas. The slow, steady, daily attacks on what I hold dear and what I cherish about my country are eroding my spirit, even the week before Christmas. My government is…. – loosening regulations designed to protect my grandchildren from the effects of environmental degradation, – lifting restrictions […]

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 […]