Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jesus knew what and when...?

Gratitude Journal
1. Cold weather in December... feels like Christmas!
2. Little kids - torn between wanting to sit on Santa's lap and yet really not wanting to be anywhere near the jolly ole man.
3. Company Christmas parties - this years Western Theme, a real treat!
4. Photo's of grands when you aren't close enough for the real thing.
5. Advent Services in new chapel at Pastoral Institute.

"Suffer the little children to come unto me..."

Have you ever thought about what Jesus knew and when He recognized He was 'different'? Some scholars say on the Mount of Transfiguration. Others think He may never have really been sure, all the way to the grave. Still others say He may have had His first 'understandings' as early as the occasion with the learned in the Temple near His twelfth year.

Whatever the time may have been, I have yet to hear anyone propose that He arrived as a baby fully aware!

No the birth narratives are pretty much what they are... birth narratives. A baby born to a man and a woman of low estate. Either in a stall or stable or cave, but definitely not in a home, much less a hospital. He came as an infant. Crying, messy diapers (cloth, no less), nurtured at His mommas breast. Probably some sleepless nights due to gas. Eventually He had to learn to crawl, walk, talk, run, fall down and get up, and do all the other things a baby or young child has to do to accomplish the normal childhood development issues.

So what can an infant teach us about God? Very little theological education focuses on the baby Jesus. Yet I believe there are one or two blessings just in visiting and reflecting on the Christ Child of those early years.

1. Dependency. He came and was totally dependent. He had to rely on others to care for His every need.

2. He was open to receiving. He had to cry to gain attention like like all infants, but He also had to accept whatever care was provided... even when He was not able to recognize who was the provider.

3. He kept on growing. He may have enjoyed being held and playing with siblings and running and jumping and laughing. But he 'put away childish things' when the time was right.

Wonder what it would be like for me to accept just how dependent I am on Abba right now? Wonder what I might receive if I were open and willing, without choosing my resources? Wonder why I fear growth and continue to fall back into my old ruts and habits?

God - Christ Child - visit me once more.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Incredible Love and Suffering

Gratitude Journal
1. Advent and preparation time...
2. Christmas Cards
3. Seasonal dishes revisited
4. Christmas memories - even the tuff ones
5. High, HOLY Christmas music!

Incredible Love and Suffering

'Change only comes through two avenues: incredible love or suffering!'
Richard Rohr

The first time I heard RR say these words something rang very true about the message. I have known times in my life when I received such deep and profound love (I always called it grace) that I was amazed and awestruck!

But there have also been times when I had to face deep grief or loss or dark nights of the soul and my world appeared to be coming apart. Change definitely happened then too!

I have a dear friend. Over the past several years she has had cancer to return and return again. She has been in and out of the hospital. Her husband too has cancer and he is on dialyses. There are other family stressors... parent care, children and grand kid issues. When I look at her life I ask 'WHY LORD?'

Change. What does it mean to change? How have I changed? Where do I need to change? When will my friend be able to live in peace and not have to face so many changes?

While I believe change is caused by suffering, for my friend, why so much incredible suffering? Not sure I like this idea of some folks facing so much and others seemingly walking through life all snug and secure and un-changed... living self-centered and prejudice lives, while others struggle each moment of the day to make sense in their suffering!

Change. What does it mean to change and how does Advent call me to change? Lord, help me to be more loving and less judgmental! Forgive me and use me this Christmas season to respond in Your love. Grant some of Your peace to my friend and her family. Through Christ I pray.