BABY AS IMMANUEL!

In a world desperately in need of good news and forlornly weary of platitudes we celebrate the coming of Immanuel—God with us—in the gift of Jesus   Glory to God in the highest!  Well, yes, but what about us in the lowest? If it doesn’t work for the whole world and all of reality, does it truly work?  That’s a question I have been asking in recent years.  I was forced to ask it seriously and urgently when I began going to other places, addressing other cultures, and found that some of my most “creative” stuff just didn’t work there and in those circumstances.  So, does it work for the whole world—for the highest and the lowest places and those who …

GOD AS BABY!

When you held your first-born baby, or grandchild, or any infant, you probably did not think, “This is how God was!” C.S. Lewis famously noted that the greatest miracle of Christianity is not the resurrection but the incarnation. If you can accept that God became a baby, the resurrection should not be a problem. The biblical story tells us about a baby’s birth.  During these weeks of Advent, we will read and sing from two famous passages found in the Prophesy of Isaiah.  At a time when the people of Judah cowered in fear over an alliance of Israel and Syria against them, the Lord gave a sign: The virgin will conceive and bear a son, whose name will be …

TERROR, REFUGEES, AND THE MESSIAH WE WELCOME 👣

In December of 2012, Lavone and I were in Bethlehem on what is called Manger Square as the town prepared for its annual lighting of the Christmas tree that marks the official beginning of the Christmas season.  The irony of this did not escape us: at or near “ground zero” for the first Advent, are all the elements for the world’s destruction. Sadly neither that part of the world nor the world as a whole have moved closer to the way of the One whose birth we celebrate, the Messiah we welcome.  If anything, tensions run tighter and deeper, conflicts rage, and current events suggest anything but peace and goodwill. Just prior to Advent 2015 and since, a major world …

Jesus, I.S. and Terror

We’ve just celebrated the first Advent of our Lord, and in the New Year we wait for the Second Advent.  The Heavy lifting has been done.  The child born … finally said, “It is finished!”  Then, on the third day he was not there but he was here, with us, still Immanuel. God with us, present, powerfully at work advancing the Kingdom of God, which already claims all the other kingdoms of this world.  In a sense already they have become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever (Rev. 11:15).  We begin the New Year eager to say, “Jesus is Lord!” But, of course, Jesus is King over a very different …

All We Got was Jesus!

We decided that we wouldn’t give each other gifts this year.  There were good reasons.  For one, we already have a lot.  In fact, most everything we could want, within reason, we have.  Then, also, we have just moved to a new place, in a sense giving ourselves a new home.  Finally and more importantly, in view of most people in the world, we already had received enough in the way of gifts to last a lifetime or more. Last year our immediate family, that is our daughters and husbands, agreed with us to enjoy an alternate form of gift-giving.  We began to give toward those less fortunate than we are here in the U.S. and around the world.  This …