Friday, December 11, 2009

One Little Baby

One afternoon I was sitting a surgery waiting room with the husband of a church member who was having surgery. It was a tense time for him as we waited and prayed. The room had a few other people awaiting news of their family and friends also in surgery.
As we waited a young couple with a baby entered the room and was greeted by a woman next to us. Her eyes lit up as she reached for her granddaughter. The baby girl smiled and giggled and in o time at all the whole room had a change of attitude. That one baby girl overcame the tension that had gripped us all and we relaxed.
I am reminded that Jesus came to us as a tiny baby boy innocent and loving. Christmas is a time to reflect on that great gift and how the birth of a child changed the world. If only we adults today could accept the gift of peace and salvation in innocence. If only we could over come our indifference, hate, and intolerance of those who are different. If only we who claim to follow Jesus would be faithful to the teachings of the Prince of Peace and live peacefully.
I pray for that day every day!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Three Wise Men

The community chorus I sing in is doing a Christmas concert next Monday and one of the carols we will sing is “We Three Kings of Orient Are.” I like that hymn but it is not accurate as the bible says three wise men not three kings. This is not a very important issue but it does point out that sometimes our cultural information does not track with the facts very well.
I point this out because of an advertisement I saw in a magazine today. It read:

“You can own actual coins of the three kings that visited Jesus in the manger.”

Glory here are con artist trying to bilk people out of their money selling coins that can not exist. What next?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Gifts

When I think of Christmas gifts I picture beautiful presents under a tree waiting to be opened. Gifts are presented to us by those who care for us and love us. Gifts have the quality of being something we do not earn or often even deserve. In fact to truly be a gift there can be no expectation of being paid back. Sadly the idea of present exchange is often a part of our celebration. A true gift is not earned or repaid.
Salvation is like that in many ways. It is a precious and priceless gift of God. There is no way we would earn it or buy it. We certainly do not deserve it but God in an act of love and compassion offers it to each of us as a gift. It is the perfect gift that keeps on giving.
Merry Christmas Arms

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Original Sin

The phrase “ORIGINAL SIN” does not appear in the scriptures. It is a later theology of the church as it struggled with the knodledge that we humans are remarkably prone to do things that we know very well are just wrong.
The theology of  “Original Sin” is that some how the first sin of Adam and Eve is genetically passed on through birth. Personally I don’t buy that idea. WE all have to commit our own sin which we manage to do a lot! To top that off we are capable of self deception and justification about our actions when we do. When my neighbor sins it is a horrible thing but when I do the same thing I had a good reason and am there for justified.
It is only when we are able to admit our sin and seek forgiveness that we are able to receive it. Christmas is a time for us to remember the greates gift ever given - God’s Grace in forgiveness.

Monday, December 7, 2009

December 7, 1941

It was a quiet Sunday morning in Pear Harbor Hawaii but that was about to change. Well that was sixty-eight years ago and the trauma of that day is slowly fading from memory.
I was barely alive then and by that I mean I was alive but not yet born. I don’t feel the trauma from the day that shall live in infamy but I know a few who do. There are less and less people who do all the time. A neighbor down the street was a  young man still in high school on that day and he remembers that he promptly joined the Marines.   When his generation passes the date will just be another footnote in history for most high school students to remember for a test. The same thing will happen to September 11, 2001 some day. That is the nature of things.
Sad No
Today to honor my parents generation who felt the trauma of 68 years ago and those who died in Pearl Harbor I will lower my flags to half staff today.
Good Grief

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Prince of Peace

Today is the Second Sunday in Advent and the day we focus our devotions on the Messiah as the Prince of Peace.

The Gospels are clear that Jesus teaches His disciples to be peace makers with teaching like turn the other cheek, go the second mile and give the shirt off your back. Being a peace maker is not an easy calling. Many people do not understand that vital Christian role and some of  them even strike out at the peace maker. There are times when the other person prefers violence and becomes angry at your efforts to make peace.

During the civil rights clashes of the 1960's Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. took Jesus at His word and practice non-violence in confronting the evil of racial hatred. He was attacked by the raciest on both sides and was martyred for the cause. Yet his dream came to pass and this new generation is moving us forward to peace between people. We still have a long way to go but we are getting there day by day.

Today we celebrate Jesus as the Prince of Peace and we pray for peace. I pray that the day will come when the armed forces of every country will only be stationed within their own borders and that we will truly turn our swords in to plow shears.

In the name of the Prince of Peace - Pray for Peace and Make Peace!