I have a few things on my mind…
This year for the advent candle lighting each Sunday Jim Fox had the idea that instead of asking different community members to do readings and light the advent candle, we ask diffent members of our community to tell a story of how the light of Christ came into the darkness of their life in the past year. Then light the candle.
The first week we had a married couple share. Last week we had a woman going through a divorce share. It has been very moving. In November Brian McLaren was with us for a Sunday and he spoke on the faith community being a “school of love” and part of what would happen in this school is that we would tell stories of love; how we experience the love of God and how we show and give the love of God to others. This year’s advent reflections and candle lightings are definitely stories of love.
I am just about through Scot McKnight’s book, The Real Mary, and I love it! I am so happy to read about Mary in a way that brings her to life. Scot does a great job of letting us into her world and what might have been going on for her as she grew in her understanding of who her son was and how she would relate to him and then to the new family he brought into being. I am very inspired to teach on Mary this Sunday.
I was brought up Roman Catholic. I have a very small statue of Mary with her powder blue robe that sits on my coffee table. Not because I worship Mary. Rather because I honor her and consider her blessed among women and because she said a resounding “yes” to God. Side bar: one night my husband and I were hosting a bible study in our home. There was a group of young adults sitting around our living room. We had candles lit and in the middle of our meeting a man was sitting on the floor about 3 feet from the coffee table asked, “is that Obi-Wan Kenobi or is that….uh Mary”
Scot does an excellent job of describing to the reader just what that “yes” to God might have meant for Mary. I highly recommend the book.
I bought my ticket for India. I leave February 16th and return March 2nd. The trip to India is Overture II for my DMin program which I am pursuing through Bakke Graduate University. I think this trip is going to have the same affect on me that going to Africa three years ago did only different. I can’t explain it because I have never been to India. I am in a pensive anticipation (do those two things go together?) that this trip will be another one of those life altering trips for me. I am very excited to go with Ray Bakke. Ray is brilliant, humble and probably the most gifted church historian I have met. More on this another time.
I love this season. I love planning with others how as a community we celebrate and enter into this season. I love my eight year old son’s anticipation for opening presents. I love serving at Ballinger Homes apartments at the annual Festival of Lights party, watching over 100 kids living at poverty level so excited to open a gift. I love watching all the VCC people and Turning Point folks that bought the gifts, wrapped them and came to the party to serve and celebrate with the families. Thank you to everyone, including those who live far away yet by donating helped make the party a success…Bob and Kelly!
I love our Christmas Eve candlelight service, getting up in the morning and opening presents with our single kids. This year that’s only three! Wow, three out of eight not married. Then we go to our son and daughter-in-law’s house for brunch with most of the kids and grandchildren.
I love the day after Christmas when Rich and I and Alex get to just hangout and watch movies. Then I look forward to the week between Christmas and New Years to reflect on the past year and dream for the New Year.