Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Crystal Kirgiss is Susie's cousin and the gifted author of a growing collection of thoughtful books.

This poem was on the Kirgiss family Christmas card. . . . our family liked it. . . .

The Tree

"whether short or tall
bent or straight
young or old
full or bare-
once chosen and decorated
with tender care
each tree becomes lovely
bathed in lights
wrapped in color
clothed in newness-
a symbol of bent, bare, empty lives
chosen by the Father
bathed in Light
wrapped in Hope
clothed in Forgiveness
because long ago
a tiny babe entered our world
shattered the darkness."

-Crystal Kirgiss

Monday, December 21, 2009

like an ox I'm slow

Here's the C.S. Lewis poem I read at the conclusion of yesterday's message, entitled "Making Space" . . . fodder for my Christmas pondering . . .


Among the oxen (like an ox I'm slow)
I see a glory in the stable grow
Which, with the ox's dullness might at length
Give me an ox's strength.

Among the asses (stubborn I as they)
I see my Savior where I looked for hay;
So may my beastlike folly learn at least
The patience of a beast.

Among the sheep (I like a sheep have strayed)
I watch the manger where my Lord is laid;
Oh that my baa-ing nature would win thence
Some woolly innocence.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

angelic visits

Just feeding my own soul on some historic Christmas sermons when I stumbled upon this insightful and thoughtful paragraph from a sermon entitled "The Maiden Mary" by the great reformer Martin Luther. . .

Quite possibly Mary was doing housework when the angel Gabriel came to her. Angels prefer to come to people as they are fulfilling their calling and discharging their office. The angel appeared to the shepherds as they were watching their flocks, to Gideon as he was threshing the grain, to Samson's mother as she sat in the field. Possibly, however, the virgin Mary, was in a corner praying for the redemption of Israel. During prayer, also, the angels are wont to appear.

Martin Luther had a habit of affirming our everyday life callings and offices. Housework is one among a great many of life's worthy callings. . . .and unavoidable for most of us. Don't you think?

Parable Moving

Here's a Trib article about the downtown Parable store moving to the Trader Joe's center.


I know this is a big deal for my friend and Grace congregant, Steve Potratz. Look for a way to encourage Steve and Laurie when you have the opportunity. I'm going to miss the Parable downtown, but I get it. . . .

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

what are you doing for advent?

Our family has enjoyed Christmas using various Advent traditions, practices, and helps the past few years. The last couple of years, we've used Noel Piper's Advent Calendar. Some of you will remember that I integrated this into our Christmas Eve service a few years back.

(Unfortunately, Desiring God Ministries is not selling the calendar this year.)

This year, a new family to the church was kind enough to give us "The Advent Jesse Tree" with a little tree and all the ornaments, too. Our kids were excited to try something new and we began last night on December 1.

One of the things that I liked immediately about this resource was that Christmas did not begin with the birth of Jesus, but with creation. We had a great little discussion about that last night as Haaken got to put the first little ornament, a globe, on the tree. The whole thing took a total of 10 minutes (I've learned the hard way to keep it simple and keep it short!)

The Advent Jesse Tree is going to walk us across the sweep of redemptive history on the way to the birth of Christ. I so desperately want my kids to know that Christmas was God's plan to bring salvation to the world from all eternity. I'll try and post some pictures of our tree once a week or so.

So what do you do for Advent?

It's not too late to go for it this year. Here is the outline of the Advent Jesse Tree devotions I found online. You could use these devotions and then create your own simple ornaments for no money at all.

Maybe another way to start and do something this year, would be a light your own candle's around an Advent Wreath on the four advent Sundays and read a bit of the Christmas story from one of the Gospels.

I'm sure the web has a thousand other ideas to help you celebrate Advent.

Don't make it complicated, but do something. Take yourself and your family to the Christ of Christmas this year. They'll love it and look forward to it next year.