Showing posts from December, 2010

Christmas cancelled

I imagine this bothers Jesus less than it does me. I'm sure they just want their members and visitors to be safe. But for Christ's sake! It's like they put up a sign saying "It's not that important." &nbsp

Praise and Creation

The First Sunday After Christmas Psalm 148 This is one of my favorite psalms. I love its exuberant, over-the-top, unabashed joy in praising the Lord of all creation. In one sense it is very simple to exegete: it is a hymn and a prayer for all creation to join in praising the Lord. It does so in fairly simple fashion. In parallel structures of Hebrew poetry, it pulls in all parts of the universe by listing the "alphas" and "omegas," the boundaries which define the created world. The reader will note its similarities to the creation story in Genesis 1, the same cosmology of the three-tiered universe, a rough correspondence to the order of creation, the same varieties of living creatures. Everything, everything , is praising God! This psalm only appears in the lectionary the first Sunday after Christmas every year. It is appropriate here, given the way the church has retrospectively and exuberantly glorified its Messiah’s birth. How natural that all creation sings in p

The grace of God has appeared

Christmas Eve Titus 2:11-14 Christmas! It's a time we celebrate. The harvest festivals have edged into a "last hurrah," in the face of the long cold nights of winter. The season's images (in the north at least) include a warm hearth, lights decorating home and streets, rich foods, and gifts wrapped up brightly to be even more special. The church, too, is decorated with pine boughs and bright red poinsettias, with elaborate manger scenes, Christmas pageants, white and gold paraments. And Christmas Eve services are often a "dress up" occasion. The Feast of the Incarnation is justly celebrated with the best we have to offer, with gold and exotic spices. Yet sometimes I think that we might instead put out tattered altar cloths, and light only the barest stub of a candle. When I think of the Christmas stories that affect me the most, they're not tales of glory and bright shiny things under the tree – but of the glory and radiance that shine forth when love co