Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Advent 2: What's in a name?

I have decided to start reading through the book of Matthew, mostly so that I can wrap my mind around the meaning of the incarnation this Christmas season. I was reading the first chapter of Matthew today, and I was struck by a thought.

23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

This verse is a reference to the prophecy in Isaiah... and i'm stunned that i haven't thought deeply about this before. The text doesn't really give Mary and Joseph's reaction to the statement "God is with us," but I'm wondering about how incredible that had to be. After generations of being promised a Messiah to save them, they are now being told that one is coming, and this one is God. All of their hopes are realized... how beautiful! This is the very thing they have been waiting for... for years and years and years! This is what their culture has been waiting for.... and all in one statement.... all in one definition of a name... they are told that God would finally be personally with them. He had not abandoned them... He would be with them. Was it hope that this evoked? Fear? A newfound hope? Excitement? And add to the fact that God would be personally with them that He would come through a common girl through an impossible conception.

Rejoice, community, for God is with us.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


This morning in church we sang one of my favorite Christmas songs... actually, it's more of an 'advent' songs, but still, i love it. It reminds me of the power of waiting and listening for God, of standing in faith that He is coming, that He will redeem. It is a song of knowing that even when life looks its bleakest, hope is waiting. It is a song that reminds me that the powers of sin and destruction do not have the last word... the power of the Cross is the final reality for those of us who believe... and this waiting in anticipation is what advent holds for us. May you be blessed as you wait on the active power of God this advent season!

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel,And ransom captive Israel,That mourns in lonely exile hereUntil the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,Who orderest all things mightily;To us the path of knowledge show,And teach us in her ways to go.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, freeThine own from Satan’s tyranny;From depths of hell Thy people save,And give them victory over the grave.

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheerOur spirits by Thine advent here;Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,And open wide our heavenly home;Make safe the way that leads on high,And close the path to misery.

O come, O come, great Lord of might,Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s heightIn ancient times once gave the lawIn cloud and majesty and awe.

O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,An ensign of Thy people be;Before Thee rulers silent fall;All peoples on Thy mercy call.

O come, Desire of nations, bindIn one the hearts of all mankind;Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Friday, December 07, 2007

They're not joking, folks

Do you ever notice those signs in parking lots that say, "only patrons of this business may park here... all others towed at owner's expense?" do you ever wonder if those signs are serious?

may all your wondering days be ever. they are, indeed, serious. need i say more about how i spent my morning?


Tuesday, December 04, 2007


I have been thinking about a lot of things these past few weeks, so this post will be a random collection of snapshots from my brain.

This semester has provided me with a lot of things to process through. It hasn't been my most difficult academically, but emotionally, there's been a lot to deal with. But in a good way. Some things from my past have re-surfaced, and God is showing me new ways of processing these things. It is amazing to me the people that God has brought into my life to help me see myself a little more objectively.... from good friends to professors to a community. There's been a lot of pruning that i'm in the midst of, and i feel like i am seeing the deep love of God in the midst of it all. In the middle of this, I had a professor suggest to me that I am afraid of my own sadness of some areas of my past, but that allowing myself to mourn the areas I need to mourn may actually provide healing from past wounds. I think he might be on to something.

In Doctrine we've been talking a lot about being under the power of the blood of Christ... that this is the power to save us. Those of us who profess faith in Christ, and in His life, death and resurrection no longer have to feel shame. I have been so reminded this week of this power... that I am empowered to leave all those areas where I feel shame, as the power in my life is no longer hiding behind sin, but in the wings of the Father, under the power of the resurrection of Jesus. Shame does a lot of terrible things to us, and this is most certainly not where God desires for His children to live.

This is the first year i've put up a Christmas tree in my house, and i'm so excited about it! I think that part of it is that this is the first time that i've felt like this is my house. We decorated the other night, and i like our little (and i do mean little) tree. It was fun to be festive. you can see pictures of the silliness on my facebook page.

Speaking of Christmas, this has been a good semester in terms of really, truly thinking about the power and the beauty of the incarnation. That's why i both love and hate this season. I love it because it's such an incredible reminder of God's power and God's love for His people. I hate it because of all the ways that the Christ message gets messed up in our culture. I pray that I am not a vehicle for messing it up.....may we live into the beauty that is the message of the hope of Christ coming into this world.